In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed his now-famous five stages of group development. Tuckman reasoned that these stages are necessary for a group to meet challenges and to grow and perform effectively.
The five stages of group development are the:
Forming Stage. The team meets and learns about the opportunity and challenges, then agrees on goals and begins to tackle the tasks. Team members tend to behave quite independently.
Storming Stage. The team addresses issues such as what problems need to be solved, how they will function independently together and what leadership model they will use necessary to the growth of the team. It can be contentious, unpleasant and even painful to members of the team who are averse to conflict.
Norming Stage. Team members adjust their behavior to each other as they develop work that make teamwork seem more natural and fluid. Team members often work through this stage by agreeing on rules, values, professional behavior, shared methods, working tools and even taboos. During this phase, team members begin to trust each other.
Performing Stage. High-performing teams are able to function as a unit as they find ways to get the job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or the need for external supervision. Team members have become interdependent. By this time, they are motivated and knowledgeable.
Adjourning Stage. Tuckman later added a fifth phase, adjourning, that involves completing the task and breaking up the team. Others call it the phase for mourning.
As you review the five stages of group development, ask yourself this question: “What stage of development is my group (team,department, organization, choir, committee, etc.)?