Teams go through stages of growth, much like children do as they grow into adults. Teams evolve from early formation through several phases to a fully-fledged organisation when they are properly maintained (Tuckman, 1965).
Teams, like young infants, might become trapped in an immature stage, resulting in stunted growth and inefficiency. With particular positive behaviours, effective team members may successfully drive a team toward maturity.
Understanding the stages of growth and realizing that each team member has a significant role to play at each level is crucial to building a healthy and effective team. Tuckman (1965) identified four stages of team development including Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
Early on, team members “test water” in order to identify the behaviour of the group. Members typically say that they need to agree as a team on their aims, to identify their first objectives, and to create ground rules. During this time, the members look for guidance from the leader. Tuckman linked the stage of formation to the time exhibited by young infants of orientation and dependence. The ensemble is usually at its finest at this period.
In this phase conflicts amongst team members often occur. Here, the team is at its highest danger of deception. Members of a well-oriented, open, optimistic team ask questions, compromise, and challenge one other constructively. This energy should encourage innovation, but disagreement may also generate animosity. Members might create sub-groups to nurture the dispute.
Task avoidance might occur if members benefit from the energy generated during hot contests. Even if some teams never pass this level, it should not be ignored. Conflict does not have to be unproductive. Teams without storms never learn to handle differences.
As the storm passes, members of the team learn to address problems and to concentrate on the task. The risk is that members might concentrate on conflict prevention such that they are unwilling to communicate challenging thoughts. There is also an undesirable tendency for “collective thought.” The competitive and informal atmosphere might limit the prevalent mindset.
This step is the reward for the hard effort of the team member. What was a collection of people has become a team. Objectives, roles, and standards are widely agreed upon, and members are dedicated to delivering outcomes. They confront disagreements, challenge ideas without becoming personal, and take communal delight in a team accomplishment. The smooth functioning team at the performance stage is characterized by creative conflict and inventive issue solutions.
Adjourning Stage (Fifth Stage)
The fifth phase in the growth of Tuckman is the adjournment phase. In fact, this last stage was only incorporated into the 1977 Tuckman model and the most melancholic of all team-building phases. The postponement phase implies that project teams exist only for a certain duration; after it has fulfilled the team’s goal, it disintegrates itself.
It may be equated to a breakdown as it is frequently difficult for team members to remove themselves from others with whom they have established intimate links.