Tuckman's Stages of Team Development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing
Is your team forming, storming, norming or performing? Tuckman's stages of team development provide a recognised structure to help shape up your team. Having a better understanding of your team's interactions and behaviours enables quicker conflict resolution, appropriate leadership styles and ultimately increased productivity.
This articles is a real case study, showing in 3 simple steps how to use the stages of team development to assess what stage your team is at, and change behaviour to suit.
Define; Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing
Before we get stuck into the case study, here’s a quick explanation of the stages of team development;
Forming - the team are polite and avoid conflict. They wonder what is expected of them. They need roles and responsibilities and clear objectives.
Storming - Interpersonal conflict arises, with arguments about roles and responsibilities or differing views or standards. Team needs ground-rules and to listen to each other.
Norming - successfully resolved conflict build trust and team members begin to co-operate.
Performing - the team is productive and adapts quickly to compensate for strengths and weaknesses.
Step 1 - are you forming, storming, norming or performing?
It would be an unusually self-aware team that could name the stage of development, so the best option is to ask them. I sent out a survey using www.surveymonkey.com, which allows you to create online surveys quickly and easily. Oh and it's basic package is free :) All the surveys are collected on-line and collated automatically, so once you've set up the questions, your work is done.
I found the stages of team climate survey questions online here. The questions are all statements about observed behaviour in the team and you indicate how often your team shows the behaviour. This can range from "Almost Never" to "Almost Always".
Here is a snapshot of the survey - there are 32 questions in all and it took no more than 10 minutes to fill in.
Each question links back to one of the 4 stages of team development, and they are mixed up, making it difficult to tell which stage the question relates to. There are no "right" answers to the questions, and it is possible to be a highly effective team and display some of the less "mature" behaviours occasionally.
Step 2 - Analyse the results
Survey monkey show the answers to each question as below.
You need a scoring grid to make sense of the answers, which I set up in Excel.
Here are the questions and actual results from my team
And the survey says?
After a bit of number wizardry, the summarised scores are
The minimum score is 8, and the maximum is 40. A score of 32 or more is a strong indicator and a score of 16 or below is a weak indicator. If there are equal scores, then the team is in transition from one stage to the next.
So, although our team exhibits all of the behaviours, we are in the Norming phase.
Step 3 - Actions speak louder than words.
Now, we're not ones to rest on our proverbial laurels, and don't take team performance for granted, so we have taken the following actions;
In 3 easy steps, we now know how "mature" our team is and what actions to take to become a high performing team. You can get guidance on what actions may be appropriate for your team here.
Tuckman's stages of team development can be successfully applied to teams of differing size. Knowing if your team is forming, storming, norming or performing allows you to better understand team interactions and behaviours, enabling quicker conflict resolution, appropriate leadership styles and ultimately increased productivity.
Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "Tuckman's Stages of Team Development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing." Mftrou.com. 23 April 2009. < http://www.mftrou.com/tuckmanstagesteamdevelopment.html >.blog comments powered by Disqus
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