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Stages of Team Development

26 Aug 2011

In the previous article we talked about “High Performance Team” which talked about the common characteristics of a team, basic understanding and traits of high performance teams.

In this article, we will talk about the various stages of team development and guidelines for managing team development to achieve extra ordinary results.

A simple model based on four essential stages of development is very useful in helping teams to understand team development; and to identify where they are in the development process.

Stage 1 – Forming

It begins whenever people come together to complete a task, however have devoted little, or no time in considering how they should work or operate.  As a result there is no shared understanding of what needs to be done.  Often the team leader has a different view from those he is trying to lead.

Stage 2 – Storming

Stage II can begin when the team decides that it wants to seriously review its operating methods and undertake activities that will improve performance.  The team is now willing to experiment. Members begin to experience team conflicts over leadership issues and task structures.

In this stage of team development, members establish the process of determining how they will organize their work, which is responsible for what task, and how the team will be measured and rewarded.

Stage 3 – Norming

After the team has worked on the basic issues of Stage II and has begun to resolve them, it will begin to have the confidence and trust to examine its operating procedures.  It will also clarify various  roles the team members play and establish specific accountabilities.

With the increased knowledge developed in Stages II and III, the team is now ready to work together.  The group has set aside a  personal agenda, for the “good of the team,” and communication is exceptional. The team now experiences a sense of progressive flow; it begins to have “fun” moments; bonding and cohesion occur and the team enjoys a sense of unity.

Stage 4 – Performing

After Stage III has been worked through, team members fully understand their roles.  The tasks have been defined and the members are committed to team goals.  This is the basis for a mature team.

Development becomes an increasing priority because the team realizes that continued success depends on continued development. As a climate of trust emerges, members begin to experiment and take risks in solving problems.

Guidelines for Managing Team Development

Stage I – Forming

  1. Before the first meeting, send out the agenda to prospective team members
  2. Start off with introductions
  3. Build a consensus on team objectives, procedures and norms
  4. Direct the group in establishing the team’s process

Stage II – Storming

  1. Follow established meeting procedures
  2. Give everyone a chance to speak
  3. Help the team members clarify and understand each other’s issues
  4. Provide acknowledgement and recognition
  5. Use suggestions for task and action assignments
  6. Apply consensus-building techniques when making decisions and determining roles and tasks

Stage III – Norming

  1. Participate as an equal member
  2. Use the “we” language to reinforce a team concept
  3. Avoid individual recognition and work toward team accomplishments
  4. Summarize and clarify the team’s thinking

State IV – Performing

  1. Trust  team members and their abilities to contribute to the team goals
  2. Focus on shared leadership
  3. Suggest team activities or team names

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