Tuckman’s Team Development Model

Carl Duncker In-house Training Courses, Management Training

This article aims to inform you how a structured model for team development in the form of Tuckman’s four stages can be implemented and become an extremely useful process in your organisation.

In 1965, Bruce Tuckman created the fours stages of development – forming, storming, norming and performing. By following this model, it is proved that, through a scheme of increasing responsibility and team building, business groups can develop sufficiently to meet goals in an efficient manner.

The process begins with stage one, forming. At this early point, the team highly depends on its leader to provide team aims. They must apply a lot of guidance and direction to the group as the team has not bonded massively at this point and therefore struggle to come to agreement quickly. Individual roles are established and goals are set for both individuals in terms of day to day tasks and the team in terms of the aims of their project. Team charters, which define the purpose of the team, how it will work, and what the outcomes are, are useful at this stage.

Stage 2, storming, is the beginning of the team forming their tactics and structure for their project. The team leader will help as little as possible whilst the group address practical issues such as what problems their project will solve. The team should begin to bond as they brainstorm each others ideas and try to see things from each others perspectives. Team members will also begin to vie for position and start to find out each others strengths and weaknesses. Leader should stay positive during challenges to authority or development. Initial compromise may be forced in order to progress to the next stage.

The norming stage is the perfect opportunity to introduce the group to team building activities. By now, they should have managed to collectively decide on one project goal and a mutual plan to achieve it. Therefore, team building exercises allow the group to ensure they can work towards their target in a mature and professional manner together, and leave the team leader safe in the knowledge that the amount of responsibility bestowed upon the teams is ready to be increased. It is also important that by this stage everyone believes in the project and have the drive and motivation to work hard to make a difference.

If a team does manage to function smoothly enough throughout the process to reach the performing stage, then they now have full responsibility and have obtained more motivation along the way as they become more involved in and committed to the project. The team has been moulded into an efficient, well drilled machine and know how to allocate and delegate accordingly without external help. There is a shared vision and a collective drive to move the organisation forward through the development and work of their team.

If you do decide that a team development programme would enable your organisation to higher its standards and move to the next level, there are several places you can look for expert analysis or external help:

  • Susan Heathfield is an organization development consultant who can provide expert knowledge for your research and help your companies teams.
  • ACAS aim to improve organisations through better employee relations and team dynamics, raising working standards.
  • Train in a Day aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your business through team development courses in which training models and strategies are complemented with expert knowledge to instil confidence in working teams, and Tuckman’s stages are applied to groups who would benefit from them.

Changing circumstances throughout projects can lead to to the repeat of the cycle of perhaps revisiting a certain stage of the cycle. For example, if an expert in the field is added to the team, the group may have to return to the storming stage to show the new member how their work will benefit the organisation. Alternatively, the norming stage may be looked at again to incorporate the new member into the team.

Train in a Day can help develop your team using bespoke team building methods and models such as Tuckman’s stages, raising employee and team effectiveness. If you feel team development methods should be integrated into your organisation, visit traininaday.com for more details.