When you first start a new job becoming part of a team can be intimidating, but more often than not you’ll be joining a team that’s already performing quite well. However, in some lines of work new project teams are formed frequently, and that can be tricky because for a group of strangers to become a strong, united team, with a common goal there must be commitment from all members.
Sometimes it’s easier to commit to something if you understand the way it can evolve. The initial stages of team development may feel like something of a white-knuckle ride of ups and downs, but recognising those stages may help you to feel more relaxed about the more challenging times, particularly when you’re the newbie.
So here are the four stages of team development according to educational psychologist professor, Bruce Tuckman:
The initial “Forming” stage is when you first meet each other and you’re all rather polite, but positive, maybe excited and a little anxious about the task ahead.
2 Storming and 3. Norming
Then reality sets in and you may start to argue, with some people trying to assert their authority. This is called “Storming”. Everything may stabilise again as a hierarchy is established and accepted; the team starts socialising more and gets to know each other better. This is called “Norming.”
Just as you think you’re all settled and loving your new team some of you might start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by how much there is to do or feel uncomfortable with the approach being used so the team lapses back into a period of “Storming” again.
Gradually, though, working practices are established and through mutual respect, people being happy to ask for help and more constructive criticism being given, you all begin to develop a comfort with your tasks and a stronger commitment towards the goal. And you’re back… in the “Norming” stage.
“Storming” shakes things up a bit and prevents the complacency often associated with “Norming”, but too much “Storming” may indicate irreconcilable differences.
In most cases, however, this pattern of “Storming” instability and then “Norming” stability repeats several times as new tasks come up or new people join the team, and eventually the cycle dies out.
The final “Performing” stage comes when your team is supported by the structures and processes that have been set up, individuals can join or leave the team without affecting the “Performing” culture and your team’s hard work leads directly towards the shared vision of your goal.
So remember that when you hit a bumpy patch with your new team, there’s no need to worry – you’re probably just “Storming” in order to become a team that “Performs” effortlessly as a unit.
This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com
Credit: Bruce Tuckman; Abintegro.com