Team development is a structured process of taking a group of people (employees, students, volunteers, committee members, etc.), teaching them to appreciate the differences each brings to the table, and learning to work toward a shared goal.
Workgroups become a cohesive team when they learn to appreciate differences.
This cohesion helps the group to meet goal objectives in an efficient way.
Building strong teams is important because it fosters a healthy environment, where team members feel involved in how work gets done and valued as a member of the team.
Healthy teams foster creativity – a critical component to a thriving organization.
Every team needs to have a sponsor.
A team sponsor is a person who provides the team with the goal and the resources needed to accomplish that goal.
The team also needs a strong team leader who helps direct and keeps the team to task.
Bruce Tuckman was a pioneer in group dynamics and developed the theory of team group development.
What he proposed was that all teams go through natural stages of development that work toward finishing their assigned task.
5 Stages of Team Development
Stage 1 – Forming
In the first stage of forming, this newly chartered group of people meet and begin to get to know each other.
This is the stage when team members learn their roles, the expectations for participation on the team, what the ground rules are, and the goal that the team is trying to accomplish.
A team leader may help team members understand the goal of the team as well as potential challenges.
Stage 2 – Storming
The 2nd stage of team development is called storming.
This is when team members begin to feel comfortable with each other, learns how each operates in a team environment – and begin to share ideas and debate issues.
The stronger personalities will be evident during this stage.
This is typically the most conflictive stage of team development.
An effective team leader helps the team learn to use conflict in a positive way and does not allow it to slow team progress.
Stage 3 – Norming
The norming stage of team development is when the team begins to demonstrate team skills and to work as a cohesive group.
They become accustomed to each others’ differences and complement each other’s strengths.
It is in this stage that the team begins to operate effectively and gains momentum in completing tasks towards accomplishing the team goal.
Stage 4 – Performing
Performing is the stage when the team has come together as a group and are operating at a high level of efficiency and accomplishing the task it was charged with.
They have learned to work together and have some momentum in the team process.
When team members change, whether a member leaves or new members join the team, the stages are often repeated.
Take the time to allow the team to normalize to get back to the performing stage.
Stage 5 – Adjourning/Transforming
The final stage in team development is called adjourning/transforming. This is when the team has accomplished what it was charged to do and goes through the process of dismantling itself.
This is a time of celebration and recognition for a job well done.
This stage can also mean a change in an employee’s job responsibilities and expectations.
Organizations are only as strong as the groups of people who help them accomplish objectives.
Team training and development are key to strengthening teams so they are equip ed to accomplish organizational goals.
How effective are your teams?