The four stages of team forming is an evergreen model used by countless facilitators who conduct teambuilding or leadership related workshops. Frequently, though - it is just touched upon in a very superficial way. The model though\u00a0holds great substance and relevance while conducting experiential team building activities.\r\n\r\nLets take a dive into the model:\r\nOverview\r\nIn 1938, Dr. Bruce Tuckman, a renowned psychologist introduced the 4-stage team developmental model that is now known\u00a0very well. Less common to most, Dr. Tuckman has added a fifth stage to the model in 1965 which is the \u201cadjourning\u201d stage. Let\u2019s walk through the 5 stages.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nForming\r\nStorming\r\nNorming\r\nPerforming\r\nAdjourning\r\n\r\n\r\nInfant\r\nPuberty\r\nAdolescence\r\nMaturity\r\nReversion\r\n\r\n\r\n\u00a0At Communication Level\r\n\r\n\r\nCourteous,\u00a0 Hierarchical\r\nBroken down, unstructured\r\nStructured and reflective\r\nGenerative, productive, creating network\r\nPurposeful, conclusive\r\n\r\n\r\nAt Relationship Level\r\n\r\n\r\nPolite, curious, wary, awkward and tense\r\nStressful, fiery, clique forming, disagreements\r\nStable roles, rules defined, reflective, WE before I\r\nSeeks for development, trusting, openness, enabled\r\nBonded memories, maintains connection, anxiety, insecure\r\n\r\n\r\nAt Task Level\r\n\r\n\r\nInformation gathering, adjustments\r\nDefine boundaries\r\nStructured, organized, clear goals and targets\r\nTask oriented, creative, PDCA, driven\r\nHanding over, concluding\r\n\r\n\r\nLeadership Style\r\n\r\n\r\nDirecting (telling)\r\nCoaching (advising)\r\nParticipative (facilitating and enabling)\r\nDelegating (overseeing)\r\nDirecting (concluding)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe diagram above presents the 5 stages of team developmental model and its relation to one another.\r\nForming\r\nForming is the initial stage for all team formation. Members are curious about each other; communication is generally superficial and courteous. It can be hierarchical especially for some new teams that were formed with a defined structure. Occasion awkwardness can be felt as the each member is adjusting to the new \u201cteam atmosphere\u201d. If a leader has been appointed, the situation calls for a directive style in leading as the team is in a volatile stage, waiting for someone to shine the light.\r\nStorming\r\nGetting into disagreement is inevitable for teams. As part the growing stage, if the storm does not sink the ship, it will make the crew stronger. It is common that intra-group communication\u00a0breaks down and it bears no structure too. Cliques started forming to establish pecking order, frequent disagreements result in tension\u00a0filling the \u201cteam atmosphere\u201d. Boundaries are taking shape but it is still very vague to the members. A leader under such situation should play as a coach, giving timely advices to the members, as such taking the team out of the storm gradually.\r\nNorming\r\nOut of the storm, come the still waters. Progressively, intra-group communication of the team takes on a clearer structure. Crucially team members are reflective of their behaviors that led or lagged the team\u2019s performance. Roles and responsibilities are in place, stability is felt by all. Imperatives to the team, goals and targets are well defined and accepted by the members. A leader should facilitate and enable the members to act at this stage.\r\nPerforming\r\nMost wanted by all teams, is the stage of performing.\u00a0A trusting attitude and openness enables them to resolve any conflicts without needing intervention from the leader. Not only is the team driven and\u00a0task oriented, each member is also well equipped with the required functional skills to act and perform. Seeking for development opportunities from the leader is common in this stage. The leader takes a back seat by delegation of tasks to the members and things will get done.\r\nAdjourning\r\nThis stage signifies each member\u2019s departure from the team. Usually, the required tasks have been completed and the purpose has been achieved. Members can now move on to new tasks or another team. It is common to hand over the incomplete tasks to another team. However, the members will retain the memories of their successful journey. Adjourning also means changing and inadvertently, this would induce uncertainly and anxiety to some members. The exiting leader should exercise resolution and firmness when communicating the impending changes.\r\n\r\nApplication of the Tuckman model:\r\n\r\nSometimes, the simplicity of a certain model becomes its bane - and so it is for the Tuckman model. Anyone seeing the model intuitively understands it - having been a part of many teams. The question for all of us as team leaders though is - how do we consciously apply this to our teams?\r\n\r\nGive a thought to it today. In what stage of the Tuckmans model do you think your team is in? Incase you are looking for some simple diagnostic tool to do a dip stick, there is\u00a0 an excellent free test at Don Clark's Big Dog site, to indicate whether your team is forming, storming, norming or performing.\r\n\r\nTry this today - diagnose your team - and then help it to move along and get better !