All groups must go through the initial four stages in order to become productive and deliver results. The first stage is the forming stage, in this stage the group members are focused on getting to know each other; most team members are positive and polite, some are anxious, as they haven’t fully understood how the team idea is going to workout, others are simply excited about the task. At this stage, the group is highly dependent on the leader to answer questions about their task and provide them with direction. This stage can last for some time, as people start to work together, and as they make an effort to get to know their new team members. Next, the team moves into the storming stage, this stage of team development involves some conflict. By now, the group members have gotten to know each other and may feel comfortable with disagreeing with each other’s ideas and opinions. There can also be conflict about the goals and objectives of the project. Storming often starts when someone has an issues with someone else’s working styles, and if it starts to cause problems, they may become frustrated and that’s how the conflict appears.
Team members may experience stress, as they don’t have the support or strong relationships with their team members. On the other hand some conflict can be good, because it can help to workout the issues, as well as it will also, show whether or not the group will be able to work together. The role of the leader is to observe, its necessary to make sure that group members don’t get rooted in conflict and unable to move forward. Progressively, the team moves into the norming stage. After working the significant issues out, the group begins to show their differences, appreciate strengths of the team members, and respect authority of the leader.
They actually start to work as a team and support each other; they may socialize together, and they are able to ask one another for help and provide feedback. During this phase, responsibilities are clearly defined and the team begins to map out a plan to achieve its goals. The team leader is more engaged in this stage to make sure everyone understands the plan. If the team’s objectives are not clear, there can be mistakes and missed opportunities. The team reaches the performing stage, is where goals are met and tasks are accomplished.
The group members are comfortable and knowledgeable enough to find patterns or tactics that contribute to the success of the group. The role of the leader in this stage should be less involved, if the team has been given clear directions. The leader may need to step in to assist the team if there were some changes made, however, the leader is more involved with delegating and overseeing the process during this stage. Last, but not least, the adjourning stage, which involves dismantling and breaking up the group once all the tasks and goals have been accomplished. It’s the group leaders job to encourage the group members to network and keep in touch with each other once they return to their respective jobs.
Often, group members can serve as resources and allies to each other once they get back to the workplace.