5 Stages of Team Development: Definition and Best Practices

In the forming stage, team members may be polite and cautious with one another. There may be a lack of clarity around goals, roles, and responsibilities, and the team may still be figuring out how to work together effectively. The group development process is important because the system allows leaders to identify the correct stage of development and accurately assess the level of teamwork.

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  • Team performance improves as members start to work more collaboratively within the group and demonstrate more confidence in their abilities.
  • And, now that you’ve figured out established practices that help you collaborate effectively, share those with other teams.
  • Teammates meet, discover group member strengths and weaknesses, explore the basics of the project, and form group goals.
  • Leadership is shared, and members are willing to adapt to the needs of the group.

They feel confident and comfortable when approaching you with concerns and questions. After the storming stage, they recognize behavioural patterns, strengths and develop foresight for upcoming roadblocks. In this meeting, you take notes from each team member and apply these to your team principles.


The key to moving through this stage is to make things as simple as possible. Hopefully, your team’s purpose or desired outcome is understood by this point. Now it’s time to make sure everyone understands the incremental milestones on the way to your goal, and what their role is in helping the team get there. Clarity as to what success looks like at each milestone will give your team a much-needed confidence boost.

However, if circumstances change, teams can go back and forth between stages instead of moving forward. While most teams progress through the development cycle naturally, by knowing what it is you can actually help them get out of sticky situations. So keep on reading to learn more about the team development cycle or scroll down for a visual infographic on the topic. In many cases, the difference between such teams is the amount of time they have been working together and at what stage of team development they are. ‎The theory provides insights into how productive teams form and develop over time.

Importance of Understanding Team Development for Successful Teamwork

This phase can become destructive to the team and will lower motivation if allowed to get out of control. Some teams will never develop past this stage; however, disagreements within the team can make members stronger, more versatile, and able to work more effectively together. Supervisors during this phase may be more accessible, but tend to remain directive in their guidance of decision-making and professional behaviour. The team members will therefore resolve their differences and members will be able to participate with one another more comfortably.

stages of team growth

Check in with them about their long-term goals for their roles within the company and determine if they’re ready for a challenge. Tuckman’s stages of team development describe how teams begin, develop, improve, and wrap up. Learn the characteristics of each stage and some practical ways to support your team members throughout the process. Most high-performing teams go through five stages of team development.

Stages of Team Development: Definition and Best Practices

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 way, they’ll remain high-performing while re-establishing trusted connections. Your team is new and excited to learn about upcoming projects as well as about each other. You outline the work, as well as key milestones, deliverables and objectives. 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.

stages of team growth

These roles could be the official title they were hired to do, or the role they fit into naturally within the group dynamic. The fifth stage of group development, also known as the https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ mourning stage, is the final stage a team will go through. After a project is over or if a team is disbanded, team members who worked together will go into a small mourning period.

Can a team go back and forth between stages?

How did you know what behaviors were acceptable or what level of performance was required? Teams usually develop norms that guide the activities stages of team growth of team members. Team norms set a standard for behavior, attitude, and performance that all team members are expected to follow.

stages of team growth

However, remembering all the information and advice may not be just that easy. For this purpose, we have prepared an infographic outlining 5 phases of team development. Save and consult it any time you need a reference in the future. With most of the issues being solved, the team starts to standardize their work practices and solidify roles. There are no more groups within the team and instead, they all work in a unit with a clear leader.

Storming — It’s inevitable, there’s going to be conflict

Group members may have a hard time working with other groups as they had strong group dynamics with their previous team. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman was the first to document the different phases that teams go through as they develop. In this article, we discuss the different stages of group development and how you can guide your team through them to optimize collaboration. The performing stage is a clear indication that your team is in a state of alignment.

None of us have perfect information, but we can get closer by sharing what we know and what we see. I like to play a game I call “Pin the Tail on the Tuckman” to uncover those differences in perception and align on where a team is at. You’ll find that team members are more tolerant of each others’ foibles and less likely to trample boundaries. They accept that each has different perspectives, which can have some value.

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A great team will ensure your project is completed well and on time. In contrast, an ok team can mean delays, loss of quality, and a lot of additional work. ‎Use Motion’s Project Manager to streamline the process if you’re kicking off a project.

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