Pushing a team to its full potential isn’t as easy and simple. Team members have to work their way through becoming coworkers that work in their full capacity from entire strangers. Only then can a team work to its fullest potential. Forming, norming storming, and performing are names of phases of a team development model proposed by Bruce Tuckman.
In this article, you’ll see in detail Tuckman’s stages of group development and how this model can help your team develop and become effective. Let’s start by unpacking some definitions.
What is the Forming Storming Norming and Performing Model?
Bruce Tuckman an American psychologist, in his 1965 paper, described a four staged team development model that all teams follow for reaching a state of maximum productivity and potential. According to the model, teams go through each phase working their way through overcoming obstacles, learning to work together, and eventually hitting their goals. This model is known as the forming, storming, norming, and performing model (FSNP).
Let’s now see what typically happens in each phase of the model.
Forming Stage of Group Development
The first of Tuckman’s stages of team development is the forming stage. The purpose of this phase is to create a team with clear structure, goals, direction, and roles. At this stage, teams are unsure of their purpose as they begin to form. They are excited, curious, and eager about their new journey.
At this point, a team constitutes of mere strangers who have many questions. At the same time, they may be anxious wondering things like how well do they fit in or if they will live up to the expectations of their supervisor.
Forming is the stage where teams begin to address the problems and then propose suitable solutions. Members of the team decide on a task they want to work on and are usually highly positive about it. This stage also takes time since everyone on the team still has to get to know each other.
Storming Stage of Group Development
Coming up to number two on the Tuckman ladder, we see the storming stage. Often the most dangerous phase of the model, the storming stage is directed by two main things: conflict and friction. In this stage, team members begin to question each other’s way of working. They may also challenge the opted management and leadership style or they may question the entire mission of the team.
In this phase, the negative aspects of each member on the team are likely to show up. It is at this stage, members begin to feel they may not live up to the expectations of the team and the end result is frustration and anger from not being able to make progress.
Disagreements and confusions result in slowing down progress. At this stage, most teams are likely to break up with some members refusing to join a team at all.
Norming Stage of Group Development
Number three on Tuckman’s model of group development is the norming stage. It is at this stage that all the team members gradually start to work together effectively. At this stage, members begin to trust each other, establish harmony and accept each other’s opinions despite their differences.
They also begin to appreciate one another’s strengths, fill in the discrepancies they left, and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and thoughts. In addition, the team begins to accept criticism and use it constructively. With increased group cohesion, members enjoy being part of the team and working together. An increased willingness to share ideas or ask teammates for help is common at this stage.
Performing Stage of Group Development
In the 4th stage of team development, members perform to their full potential and work hard. With such determination and productivity, the team is highly likely to hit its target. Members feel satisfied with their progress and are confident in their abilities.
Additionally, they begin to prevent and solve problems efficiently and they start to fulfill their roles responsibly.
Adjourning Stage of Group Development
The last stage of Tuckman’s model of group development is adjourning which is also known as mourning. At this stage, the teamwork is done, tasks are completed and goals are met. This stage arrives naturally when a project is completed and the need for a team is no longer felt. At this stage, the team members disband and are deployed. Some members also feel anxious thinking of their future roles. Ar the same time members feel content having accomplished goals.
The adjourning phase is especially difficult for those people who are habitual of working in teams. Overall, the phase consists of mixed emotions from the members because of the team ending. During this stage, members must keep some things in mind. For instance, they should evaluate their team process, progress and see if any of their deliverables are pending.
Using the Forming Storming Norming and Performing Stage for Team Development
In order to make sure your team is moving forward from stage 1 to the last stage of this team development model, keep in mind a few things:
Look at the Current Status of Your Team
Begin by figuring out at which stage your team might currently be. Only then you’ll know what are some steps you can take to help them grow to their full potential.
Take Steps to Help them Move Forward
Your team may not do everything on its own. They may need at least some external help as they go from the forming stage to the performing stage. After identifying the current status of your team, take steps to push them to the next step.
For instance, if a team in its storming stage is having trouble or arguing in deciding the right thing, help them decide. For a team that is still in its forming stage, help them get comfortable with each other.
No team can move forward if it’s left unchecked, An important part of helping your team develop is to keep an eye on them from time to them. You should be seeing their current progress and their current status.
You can also schedule regular review sessions with them. After seeing where your team stands, you can take the essential measures to help them move to the next stage. In addition, you also need to keep an eye on your team even in the performing stage. Their progress can decline if there’s no one to keep a check on it.
Moving between the Stages
Forming to Storming
The forming stage is all about getting to know everyone on the team. You may want to make that process easy for your team. In case your team is a remote one, you can try virtual onboarding and online video calls. When going from the forming stage to storming, you can ask your team to have personal goals so they can see where they want to start.
Storming to Norming
Storming is a difficult stage and therefore requires the most check and balance. At this stage, you should be seeing where the team members currently stand, what are the shortcomings, and where they seem to be disagreeing with each other.
Building trust between the team members is important and therefore you should take steps to increase it between the members. Additionally, keep an eye on all the conflicts within the team. They may help you see where the team needs fixing, where they are wrong and how they can improve in order to perform at their full potential.
Following up through meetings face to face or online both are important at this stage.
Norming to Performing
Although at this stage your team has adjusted itself to the team environment and is finally making progress you still may want to keep an eye on their progress in case it slips back. To make sure they’re performing well, keep up the regular review sessions. During the session make sure you hear the quiet team members and see what they have to say.
In the follow-up sessions make sure you motivate your team to go ahead and take responsibility for their actions. You can also take the help of virtual team-building exercises to help your team grow.
Performing to Adjourning
When your team is finally in its full progress potential, you can look into other ways that can benefit your organization. At this stage, you can free some time and focus on yourself. You must also ask your team for any personal development goals they have and then discuss with them the available opportunities.
When all is done and dusted, it’s time to celebrate. At this stage, you should make time to celebrate your team’s achievements and make them see how far they’ve come. When all your team members will share positive experiences, it’ll boost their confidence and lift their mood.
Not all members may have positive experiences to share. For those that don’t, make sure you listen to them and what suggestions they have to offer. You should appreciate them for going this far. Additionally, you can discuss with them other available career opportunities that they may feel confident about.
Ready to Develop Your Team?
Tuckman’s forming storming norming and performing model is an excellent way to help your team grow. Using a few tips mentioned in this article you can use this model to help your team grow and develop as they go through each of these stages.
To help your team form storm norm perform, you need to see where your team currently stands, what shortcomings they’re facing, what are their strengths, and where they need to improve.