Teams have become an increasing feature of modern workplace and social arena. The widespread use of teams arises from the contention that teams create an environment where synergy is achieved thus enhancing outcomes more than the outcomes achieved from individual efforts (Wienclaw 1). Teams differ from other types of groups out of a differentiation of skills in the team and a common fate that faces the team members (Wienclaw 1). For instance, in groups such as sales workforce, performance is determined on an individual basis whereas the success of a team is based on the team’s outcomes rather than the members’ individual efforts. An effective team goes through a multi-step process of development eventually leading to the adjourning stage when the team objectives are accomplished. In this paper, the stages of team development are reviewed with examples being presented from the author’s prior team-working experience.
Forming. The first stage of team development, the forming stage, is characterised by great level of uncertainty. At this stage, members are still not well acquainted with aspects such as the team’s mission, processes that would enhance individual efforts, capabilities of the individuals making up the team and the team leadership (Wienclaw 2; Schermerhorn et al. 166). At the forming stage, the members try to learn about other members and try to determine the norms that would be acceptable in the team. In the work team that I was part of, the forming stage was characterised by restraint as members avoided early conflicts with other members. For instance, some members contributed little suggestions to the team before all the members became comfortable with one another. In the early stages, clear team roles as depicted in Belbin’s team roles model (discussed in Manning, Parker and Pogson 287-294) were also not evident. Team members had not established adequate knowledge of other members to delineate the individuals suited for various roles in the team. Such forming stage ended with members acceptance of their being part of the team.
Storming. In the storming stage, the team experiences conflicts with some members attempting to impose their preferences on the team (Schermerhorn et al. 166). The tension that occurs in the storming stage inculcates the skills to manage conflicts within the team in order to achieve a common goal (Wienclaw 3). In the team that I was part of, the storming stage was marked by consistent conflicts. Individual members expressed displeasure with the idea of having to be assessed based on other members’ performance, other individuals felt that some of the team members were contributing less to the team, and disagreements arose on the process to be followed on matters such as selecting the team leader and inclusion of a new member into the team. As the team was required to report its progress periodically, members eventually started overcoming conflicts arising from aspects such as differences in interpersonal styles.
Norming. The norming stage represents a step where the team establishes some cohesion and starts working towards achievement of the team goals (Schermerhorn et al. 167). In my team, such norming was characterised by establishing norms that defined expected individual behaviour within the team. For instance, leadership of the team was assumed on a rotational basis providing each member a chance to lead. Members also became receptive to the idea of timelines to accomplish their tasks to avoid delaying the team’s outcomes. Such timelines were established through consultative sessions where members discussed the aspects that could prevent them from meeting their respective timelines.
Performing. The performing stage envisages a phase where the team functions cohesively in carrying out the tasks designed to meet the team’s goals (Wienclaw 3; Schermerhorn et al. 167). In my team, the performing stage embodied individuals meeting the set timelines to perform various tasks, providing frequent progress reports to other members of the team and resolving any conflicts that arose expeditiously. The team for instance resolved conflicts arising with regard to individual members’ performance through sessions that discussed the team’s expectations of every member and the significance of each member’s contribution to the team’s outcomes.
Since our team was a temporary one, it also underwent an adjourning phase. In the adjourning phase, the team prepared reports to the organisation’s top leadership concerning the required changes for the organisation to remain competitive. In this stage, the members also discussed the role they would play in communicating the policies identified in their respective departments when the report was approved. Having completed the task that the team was formed to address, bonds among members dissipated gradually as members returned to their original work assignments in their respective departments.
The development of a team proceeds through various stages that prepare individuals to work together to achieve the team’s outcomes. Such a process is exemplified in this paper with a discussion of the events that took place during each of the team development process. The events of the team included restraint during the forming stages, conflicts in the storming stage, establishment of standards to guide behaviour in the norming stage and meeting expected performance in the performing stage. Once the team had accomplished its task, the adjourning stages involved preparation of reports for the management and discussion of the role that each member would play to implement the team’s recommendations in ones department.
Manning, Tony, Richard Parker and Graham Pogson. “A Revised Model of Team Roles and Some Research Findings.” Industrial and Commercial Training 38.6 (2006): 287-296. Emerald. Web. 2012.
Schermerhorn, John. R., James G. Hunt, Richard N. Osborn, and Mary Uhl-Blen, M. Organization behavior. 11th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010. Print.
Wienclaw, Ruth A. “Teams & Team Building.” Research Starters Business, sep (2010): 1-6. Ebscohost. Web. 2012.