Software development

Manager’s Guide To Navigating The Four Stages Of Team Development

This is a great time to reflect on what makes a high-performing team able to accomplish tasks and move through obstacles. It’s the time where your team learns about upcoming projects and structures. Here, it’s typical for teammates to feel excited, anxious, and curious about what lies ahead. At this stage, the team’s routine and norms become stable and change infrequently. The team may start thinking strategically about their work and balance work on initiatives and process improvements.

what are the four stages of group development

Ultimately, the goal is to make sure you can provide psychological safety as a baseline, evaluate team patterns of behaviour and notice when you’re in a negative cycle. This is indicated through the project stage which is either completed or very nearly there. How they trust each other to remain accountable for their tasks without dropping the ball.

Each member is forming impressions about the others and deciding how best to approach the situation. This stage is generally not very productive for the group. Furthermore, team members may encounter unexpected difficulties, feel lost and overwhelmed, and disillusioned and disappointed with their new team. Managers need to support each team member and ensure they can contribute and their peers are not blocking them. Frequent 1–1s allow managers to help their team members cope with issues and find a place in the team. Furthermore, at this stage, the team members don’t know whether they will be able to work well together and if they will fit in.

Once the rules have been formed, the norming stage begins. Now that each group member understands their own responsibilities and those of the rest of the group, they will start to appreciate the other group members. They will be more open to listening to each other and understanding each member’s experience and skills. They will be more supportive and start to feel as though they are part of the group. When your team has grown through the stages of team development they establish a state of “flow”.

At this stage, the project is coming to an end and the team members are moving off in different directions. Members are discreet with their behavior, which is driven by their desire to be accepted by all members of the group. There may be additional open items to be closed over time, but the main activity and purpose for the team are complete. Everyone is celebrated and the team can build upon the success of the event. Managers need to recognise each achievement the team makes at this stage, no matter how small or large.

Signs And Questions To Look Out For In The Norming Stage

Here are three tips that will help you successfully move the team through the four stages of team development. At this stage, team members jockey for informal leadership. Often there is angst because people have different working styles and they are now being asked to use a common style. During the storming phase, resistance and minor conflicts arise. Issues might be brought up by less patient group members.

At this point, the leader should draw out the opinions of all members and leverage the diversity of the team. As conflicts arise, the leader must take quick action to deal with the issue and maintain the positive climate. Your team needs to communicate clearly and, rely on one another rather than turn on each other. This is a crucial point in team development where leaders can pinpoint bottlenecks, areas of improvement and couple them with team strengths to build forward momentum.


Every team has different needs when it comes to their development. Which means, you may experience these stages in sequential order, or find yourself in a loop with one or more of the stages outlined above. As you communicate with them you notice how confidently they articulate their ideas.

The team must know that despite all difficulties, they are still delivering and making progress. Here’s the thing, the line between certain stages can get blurred since team members evolve at different times. Your team feels confident, excited and satisfied with their work. As you learn about their progress, you ask them questions about their processes and notice how they collaboratively provide constructive answers.

what are the four stages of group development

Your team will experience obstacles in the storming stage. While originally things had been going according to plan, roadblocks crop up during this stage. You recognize that your team is new, and want them to feel supported, motivated and psychologically safe. So, you host a meeting where your team can get to know one another, their work style, and the way they feel appreciated.

Scenario: Youre Leading Your Team Through The Norming Stage

They behave nicely, comply with instructions, and treat each other like strangers. You book 1-on-1 meetings with team members to learn about each of their experiences. As you do this, you recognize clear and consistent points with each team member and the benefits of hosting a team retrospective.

  • You recognize that your team is new, and want them to feel supported, motivated and psychologically safe.
  • At this stage, the morale is high as group members actively acknowledge the talents, skills and experience that each member brings to the group.
  • The team’s level of conflict and antagonism drops, and people become more constructive, supportive, and understanding.
  • The conflicts can persist under the surface, depending on the group dynamic.
  • What did you learn about yourself and one another so far?
  • They not only understand how to ask for help, but they’ve also developed a gauge for when it’s an opportune moment to speak up, and involve you.

Conduct brainstorming using the eight wastes and a PICK chart to narrow your solution options. Depending upon the team makeup and the size of your organization, some people may know each other and some might not. At this stage, team members are polite but often anxious. They know and rely on each other’s strengths and can work together to achieve ambitious goals and meet deadlines. After all, their ability to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals is a reflection of a management job well done. Not only are you proud of the team development they’ve exemplified, but you’re also proud of their individual capacity to stay in integrity with the quality of their work.

Managers Guide To Navigating The Four Stages Of Team Development

I first heard of his stages of team development when I attended advanced leadership training offered by the Boy Scouts of America. Tuckman’s theory is that every group moves through four stages on its way to becoming a high-performing team. By recognizing these stages, we can adapt our leadership style to the needs of the team. The final stage is marked by high productivity and enthusiasm.

Group interaction are lot more easier, more cooperative, and productive, with weighed give and take, open communication, bonding, and mutual respect. This is a way for the team to present their accomplishments and celebrate their success. You may see team members resist in taking on tasks for the RIE. It’s important to engage everyone and assure them their ideas are needed for success. The organisational environment the new team exists in is also unfamiliar to its members.

From Forming To Performing: Leading Through The 4 Stages Of Team Development

Every team moves through the four stages of development, and may slip back a stage or two as new challenges or opportunities arise. Being resilient, laying aside ego and working together will allow the team to meet the challenges and emerge stronger than when they started. The performing stage is a clear indication that your team is in a state of alignment. They not only understand how to ask for help, but they’ve also developed a gauge for when it’s an opportune moment to speak up, and involve you. The second stage of group development is the storming stage. The first stage of group development is the forming stage.

Cooperation And Integration Norming Stage

Questions around leadership, authority, rules, policies, norms, responsibilities, structure, evaluation criteria and reward systems tend to arise during the storming stage. Such questions need to be answered so that the group can move further on to the next stage. Because an RIE has a defined beginning and end, you need to move through these four steps quickly.

Discover all templates Made to solve challenges quickly and build stronger relationships with your team. Group leadership is very important, but the facilitator can step back a little and what are the four stages of group development let group members take the initiative and move forward together. During day two, the team might develop new layout options. Look for ways to improve flow, eliminate inventory, and WIP.

The norming stage is more harmonious since teams understand why it’s important to ask for help, and how to come to you with questions when they need guidance. Remote teams A simple platform that tells you how remote teams really feel, and fosters action-oriented 1-on-1 conversations. Team leadership Support managers with the tools and resources they need to lead hybrid & remote teams.

At this stage, the morale is high as group members actively acknowledge the talents, skills and experience that each member brings to the group. A sense of belongingness is established and the group remains focused on the group’s purpose and goal. Bruce Tuckman presented a model of five stages Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing in order to develop as a group.

This stage presents a time where the group is just starting to come together and is described with anxiety and uncertainty. At the Performing Stage, managers can expect the team to start delivering predictable results and meeting deadlines. They can delegate more responsibilities to the team and focus on more strategic work. During the Norming stage, the team gradually optimises how it works. If the team doesn’t have some form of the continuous improvement process, such improvements happen organically, but if it does — they progress faster. Each stage of team development doesn’t necessarily take just as much time as the one that comes after it, nor the one before it.

This means they understand how to work together in a cohesive way that helps them reach their goals. The performing group is one of increased flexibility and independence. Because the members know and appreciate each other, they can trust one another to handle their required tasks. They can work together well and be comfortable with each person working individually to achieve their goals. If responsibilities need to be revised, it is done more easily in this stage. The group has a high morale and energy during this stage.

Performing Stage

After the storming stage, they recognize behavioural patterns, strengths and develop foresight for upcoming roadblocks. This way, they’ll remain high-performing while re-establishing trusted connections. As a result, you’ll establish yourself as a leader of a team rooted in transparency and trust while you communicate clear expectations and team principles. When your team learns more context about what’s required of them in this stage, they’ll feel more confident. Alignment Get your people in the same mindset with OKR goals and 1-on-1 meetings. This stage of a group can be confusing and is usually reached when the task is successfully completed.

Although not all groups reach this stage, it is the stage at which a group can reach its maximum potential. At the beginning, everyone is excited about being a part of the team. Even though they aren’t sure how things will turn out, they know it will be a great experience. At this stage, the team is characterized by high enthusiasm and low productivity. In the performing stage, you’ll notice fluidity with communication and overall conversations. This is demonstrated through high morale, productivity and engagement.

I’m sure you have heard there are four stages of team development that each team goes through before they perform at a high level. Engineering management, leadership, software architecture, high-performing teams, professional growth. This way, you can prepare for conversations that build trust while supporting your team and leading through each team development stage. Identifying each of the 4 stages of team development helps you underscore your team’s needs during each one. A team cannot be expected to perform well right from the time it is formed. At the Storming Stage, managers should ensure the team members agree on the team norms and keep following them.

This is a concept that psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with to properly understand the progress of various teams and the development of key contributors. Once a group is clear about its needs, it can move forward to the third stage of group development, the norming stage. I like to refer to Value Stream Maps that have been developed before the event. On day one of the RIE, go to the area and make sure everyone understands the goals to be met.

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