The 5 Crucial Phases of Building a Team


Listen respectfully and respond with positive interest to ideas from team members. The getfit challenge is a free 12-week, team-oriented fitness challenge open to the entire MIT community. Get your team registered by January 22, and get ready for all the fun, camaraderie, perks, and potential prizes that come with participation. Please read LiveChat, Inc. privacy policy and GDPR for more information on how data is stored, processed and rights to be forgotton.

But it has never been more important to focus on what really works to create a good team than now, with remote work looking more like a long term reality. How did you know what behaviors were acceptable or what level of performance was required? Teams usually develop norms that guide the activities of team members. Team norms set a standard for behavior, attitude, and performance that all team members are expected to follow. At the norming phase of team development, the team starts to have a feeling of affiliation with the team. The team members understand that diversity is important and respects each other’s views.

Our discussion so far has focused mostly on a team as an entity, not on the individuals inside the team. This is like describing a car by its model and color without considering what is under the hood. External characteristics are what we see and interact with, but internal characteristics are what make it work. In teams, the internal characteristics are the people in the team and how they interact with each other.

Steps to Building an Effective Team

When a team is first formed, there can be uncertainty and even anxiety, but also excitement. This is normal, and is considered one of the stages of team building. Next, check out this list of books on coaching, this guide to team building stages, and this collection of conflict resolution activities. The success of your team development efforts depends on the tools you use.

Getting everyone on the same wavelength sounds easy on paper, but that isn’t the case. It’s challenging to balance common and individual goals within a team especially during moments of discord, failure, or stress. For your team to work collaboratively with few interruptions, they need tools that operate intuitively and will save them time. Find tools that don’t require hours of training and automate basic functions to get the job done. Before committing to a tool, give your team some time to work with it and test it out to make sure it fits their needs. Lots of tools offer free trials, so use that time to experiment and check its compatibility with other products you use.

phases of team building

The model was created in the mid-1960s, and in the early 1970s Tuckman added a fifth stage to his model. The model is based on the fact that teams must feel each other out, work out conflicts, and set aside their differences before they can become an effective unit. The five stages are forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. It involves a challenging yet critical transition from the laid-back forming stage. There’s a possibility of failure at the storming stage because it’s here that conflicts start to manifest.

It’s easy for everyone — including you — to get in a tunnel and focus on their own lists of tasks. Make sure everyone steps back each day or week to take a look at the larger picture. Find out what is most important to them and how they see the company. From there, you can begin building a plan for how to integrate your vision and drive the organization forward. Whether you’ve been managing a team for years or you’re joining one as a newbie, this approach has helped me establish trust and sustain success. For example, the seven-member executive team at Whole Foods spends time together outside of work.

What are the Five Stages of Team Development?

While working on a high-performing team may be a truly pleasurable and growthful experience, it is not the end of team development. There is still a need for the team to focus on both process and product, setting new goals as appropriate. Changes, such as members coming or going or large-scale changes in the external environment, can lead a team to cycle back to an earlier stage. If these changes – and their resulting behaviors – are recognized and addressed directly, teams may successfully remain in the Performing stage indefinitely. Good managers give employees space and autonomy to move through the team building process naturally.

Whether in a team at work, in your neighborhood, or in a nonprofit organization, you can use these skills to create a better team. At this stage, each team member has a general idea of how the other team members operate. Differences are brought into the open, and cliques may form at opposite ends around these issues.

phases of team building

In the performing stage, teams are in sync and work more efficiently together than at any previous stage. Teams that have been working closely for some time have resolved enough issues to understand what success looks like for them. For example, success can be anything from higher customer acquisition to a positive shift in the metrics they’re tracking.

The Fourth Stage: “Performing”

Ground rules that will govern the team get outlined at the forming stage. Team leaders need to facilitate introductions and highlight each member’s background and skills. In the performing stage, consensus and cooperation have been well-established and the team is mature, organized, and well-functioning.

  • The team building process is a step-by-step system for transforming a group of employees into an effective and collaborative unit.
  • A team comprises individuals brought together to fulfill a common goal.
  • Useless interference at these steps normally just leads to time wastage.
  • Leaders can save or make extra work for themselves through the choice of team members.
  • Commitment to the team’s mission is high and the competence of team members is also high.
  • Sometimes it’s the “crazy” ideas that really spark the team’s creativity.

Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings. The Central Services teams provide critical HR-related services to nearly all of the Berkeley campus, including records management and visa documentation. Here is a list of ways to celebrate with a virtual team, and ideas for recognizing employee of the month.

Forming — Getting projects started

Take advantage of expert, personalized guidance by phone or in person. Seminars and webinars are designed to help you navigate the college admissions process, plan, and pay for your—or your child’s—college education. Creating a closing celebration that acknowledges the contributions of individuals and the accomplishments of the team and that formally ends this particular team’s existence. During the Ending Stage, some team members may become less focussed on the team’s tasks and their productivity may drop. Alternatively, some team members may find focussing on the task at hand is an effective response to their sadness or sense of loss. Emphasize the importance of each team member’s contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.

phases of team building

She also asks each member to write a brief evaluation of the team experience. She explains that this will help her become a better leader in the future. Nearly 85% of employees complete the training in the first year. All the team members are very excited about their accomplishments. The team comes up with an idea to focus the training on five scenarios often found in the hospital. Participants in the training will view each scenario and identify the safety hazards found and the proper action.


But you have to find a way to make sure team members are aligned and on the same page. The principal work for the team during the Forming stage is to create a team with clear structure, goals, direction and roles so that members begin to build trust. During the Forming stage, much of the team’s energy is focused on defining the team so task accomplishment may be relatively low. Knowledge of the four phases listed above is useful in managing both the development of newly assembled teams and the continued successful performance of established teams.

Team members should continue to deepen their knowledge and skills, including working to continuously improving team development. Accomplishments in team process or progress are measured and celebrated. During the Forming stage of team development, team members are usually excited to be part of the team and eager about the work ahead.

Want to learn more? Check out these other articles!

The project has reached its natural end, and group members acknowledge that while the group has found success, it is time for the team to split and move on to new challenges. The mourning stage paves the way for more growth and learning and new opportunities. the four stages of team development This final part of the team building process grants teammates closure and provides a chance to reflect on the experience. The most commonly accepted model of team building, developed by Dr. Bruce Tuckman, consists of four primary stages.

Later, during the norming and performing stages, norms focus on relationships and levels of performance. Performance norms are very important because they define the level of work effort and standards that determine the success of the team. As you might expect, leaders play an important part in establishing productive norms by acting as role models and by rewarding desired behaviors. This is the stage at which teams address how they will function as a team, including issues of leadership.

During the Storming stage, team members may argue or become critical of the team’s original mission or goals. At Team Tactics we provide a large selection of team activities suitable for all groups. From events requiring strong technical and analytical skills to those requiring optimum creativity, there is an event for everyone. Team building activities promote problem solving, communication and leadership in a supportive and encouraging environment. Team Building activities are designed to be fun and engaging and are therefore an excellent way of forming relationships whilst becoming familiar with each other’s strengths.

Clarifying group roles

There are emotions of achievement and satisfaction for achieving the goals. There are also emotions of sadness as sometimes the teams build a good emotional attachment and a thought of separation sparks this feeling. During the Norming stage of team development, team members begin to resolve the discrepancy they felt between their individual expectations and the reality of the team’s experience.

Having an expert at your side can help you develop a high-performing team. LRI’s consultants have distinguished records in facilitating the development of high-performing teams. Our clients include public and private sector organizations as well as non-profits. Bruce Tuckman was a Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at Ohio State University.

The norming stage is when the entire team starts to work as a cohesive unit. By now, team members have figured out a strategy for working together. The internal competitions prevalent at the storming stage have been rooted out. Each team member’s roles and responsibilities are also clear.

At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution. To foster accountability on your team, you should aim to create a safe environment where employees are not afraid to own up to mistakes and admit shortcomings.

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