Tuckman’s Team Building Models – Forming, Storming, Norming, And Performing

Check out this interesting read that peels off every psychological layer of Bruce Tuckman’s key stages of team development.
Tuckman Team Building Models | Binmile

An organization thrives where team productivity grows on to become the most fundamental building block of its success.

So, the very concept of team building to improve the overall performance of a workforce ecosystem of an organization underscores the virtue of Bruce Tuckman’s team-building stages called Forming–Storming–Norming–Performing (FSNP).

Tuckman’s stages of team development are a sought-after team-building mechanism. It is based on the psychology of how a team walks down on different stage-wise development to work cohesively to achieve shared team’ goals leading to an organizational growth.

So, what are the stages of group development that result in an effective team building for an organization? What are the phases of team development leading to the growth drive for a company in today’s competitive business world?

In this write-up, we are going to uncover each stage of team building based on Tuckman’s stages of team development. Each phase has its own psychological delineation of how a team, as a collective force, solidifies into a productive workforce ecosystem. Check it out.

A Guide To Understanding Tuckman’s Forming–Storming–Norming–Performing (FSNP) Team Building Models

Tuckman Team Building Models | Binmile

1. FORMING – The First Stage of Team Building Models

This stage of group development or team building roadway describes the initial impressions of politeness, friendliness, and approachability among team members toward each other.

An impression of anxiety may also be possible here, considering we are talking about team building with humans driven by emotions. It is also important to keep in mind that this stage of group development carries a very delicate onus on cementing the foundation for the team’s success. Hence, any negativity, if continued unchecked would result in drastic outcomes, affecting team’s productivity and weakening its gel to keep everybody together.

What Happens in the FORMING Stage of Group Development?

  • Each team member gets introduced to each other
  • A gradual development of rapports or professional relationships among team members builds up
  • When familiarity among team members strengthens, the sense of roles and responsibilities within the team dawns upon them
  • This phase is crucial for building mutual respect and trust for team members to lay the groundwork for an effective team building

Role Of Team Leader in FORMING Stage of Group Development

  • Guides and directs the team members
  • Assigns roles and responsibilities to each team member
  • Makes sure that team members work with shared goals
  • Encourages idea sharing through open communication channels
  • Puts discipline and ground rules in practice for team members
  • Helps team members grow in their respective job responsibilities
  • Cultivates mutual trust and respect for each team members

In the forming stage of team development, there is a strong likelihood that team members are not well-informed of the team’s shared goals. They are focused on themselves, model decent conduct, and become tasks-oriented. This stage also defines team members testing their boundaries and defining organizational standards.

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2. STORMING – The Second Stage of Team Building Models

This is the second phase from Tuckman’s stages of group development model and is hailed as one of the crucial junctures for team building.

This stage of development gives rise to the emotional intensity of team members surfacing conflicts, disagreements, and bringing out negative shades of group behavior. Since this phase of group development marks complete familiarity of team members with each other, they tend to opine and express themselves unrestrained.

A blunt expression of one’s opinion is also a likelihood under this stage, aside from giving birth to misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts, or perhaps a turf war as team members stake out the portions of the project they intend to control.

A possibility of some team members objecting to onboarding new members is bound to happen in this stage. That’s why this stage is delicately crucial for an organizational strength of its workforce ecosystem, as it pushes teams on the verge of falling apart, if not handled intelligently.

What Happens in The STORMING Stage of Team Development?

  • Interpersonal conflicts and disagreements may arise after power and status are assigned to team members
  • Unchecked expression of opinions happens that may lead to misunderstanding among team members
  • Rampancy of erratic manners could be a possibility if team is not nurtured carefully at this sage
  • Team may collapse at this stage if negativity is not reined in proactively
  • Team members talk to each other pleasantly, push against boundaries, while some may harbor anxiety, fear, or dubiety
  • Actions or decisions of the team leader may be questioned by subordinates leading to personality clashes, disagreements, and possibly the blatant denial to comply with rules

Expectations From Team Leader at STORMING Stage of Team Development:

  • Relegate jobs or responsibilities in a manner that team members don’t feel overwhelmed with the workload
  • Respect individual boundaries
  • Handle disputes or conflicts right away ensuring they are solved with an open mind
  • Understand that conflicts in team are normal occurrences
  • Maintain unbiased tone of communication styles to rule out confusion or misunderstandings
  • Encourage transparency to boost collaboration among team members
  • Don’t expect sycophancy from team members as it creates rift in the team
  • Encourage a culture of mutual trust and respect, as well as diversity and inclusion
  • Build a safe and supportive working ecosystem

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3. NORMING – The Third Stage of Team Building Models

This is the third Tuckman’s stages of team development, signifying a realistic impression of the progress of team building efforts. This stage is a gradual progress of team members coming together and bounding in a sense of unity and cohesiveness to work in pursuit of materializing a shared vision or goal. To say otherwise, this stage of the team building model is an extension of team members developing mutual trust and respect for each other, achieving better cohesion despite differences on personality levels, and cultivating better insights into the shared goals and direction of the team.

What Happens in the NORMING Stage of Team Development?

  • Team members show matured attitude toward team bonding and inclusiveness
  • It symbolizes a realistic manifestation of team building efforts
  • Team members come together in a sense of unity and cohesiveness to work for a shared goal and vision
  • Team members show mutual trust and respect for each other
  • Better cohesion in the team despite clash of thoughts or individual differences
  • People realize the value of collaboration for shared goals and direction for the team
  • There is unanimous consensus around who the leader is, and roles of each member
  • No interpersonal conflicts, and sense of unity begins, increasing team performance

Expectations From Team Leader at NORMING Stage of Team Development:

  • Ensure that team members have norms and values in place to behave
  • Create a culture promoting positivity and productivity in team
  • Encourage discussions and activities that build team spirits and collaboration
  • Be supportive in the team’s overall productivity boost. One way to do this – provide constructive feedback and guides

If team members successfully navigate the norming stage, the whole team starts to cultivate strong cohesion and team bonding, overcomes challenges, and works together to achieve team’s goals. A cohesive working ecosystem like that also builds positive and productive culture supporting continuous growth and success.

Also Read: How to Manage Nearshore Software Development Team

4. PERFORMING – The Fourth Stage of Team Building Models

This model is actually the manifestation of a cohesive, collaborative team that works collectively to achieve the shared goal of the team. This is the stage of the team metamorphosed into a motivated and knowledgeable workforce feeling competent, autonomous, and capable of handling decision-making processes unsupervised. Voice of concerns or dissent are permissible in the team as long as expression of disagreement or conflict is positively channeled and acceptable to the team. Key decisions are attended, teams react to changing scenarios positively, and dynamic performance takes root in the team. This is the stage of team development with flexible roles of each member, who understand their respective strengths and weaknesses and communicate ideas effectively.

What Happens in the PERFORMING Stage of Team Development?

  • At this stage, team becomes cohesive and collaborative
  • Team works collectively to achieve its shared goals
  • Team feels motivated and competent to handle decision-making without being supervised
  • Voice of dissent is permissible unless it is acceptable in the team
  • Team competently reacts to the changing scenarios
  • Dynamic performance takes root in the team
  • People are familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses

Expectations From Team Leader at PERFORMING Stage of Team Development:

  • Concentrate on team building efforts
  • Improve your talent nurturing skill, mentoring and coaching skills
  • Trust the team, let it manage works without your direct involvement

Read More: Best Software Development Models

Few words about ADJOURNING stage of team development

No doubt, a high-performing team induces rewarding experience of growth, it doesn’t conclude the team development. Team still requires focusing on both process and product and appropriately setting new goals. For example, what if large-scale changes emerge in the team? Does that mean the high-performing team will cycle back to old stages? This is where the fifth stage of team development called Adjourning Stage comes into the picture.

At the adjourning stage of team development, goals and objectives assigned to the team are considered accomplished, to a larger extent. The focus now rests on concluding the final tasks and then disbanding the team. Team should be acknowledged for their efforts and successful contributions. Team members are to be replaced by new incumbents and thus the new team goes back to the first stage of team development. Thus, the phase of the team building process repeats itself.

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Winding Up

To create a pervasive impact on today’s competitive business world, organizations adopt different strategies. This includes the most fundamental one – strengthening their workforce ecosystem.

And this is imperative. Why?

Because a lack of fully-improved teams could result in unsuccessful outcomes, like not achieving its set goals. Under such circumstances, Tuckman’s stages of team development or team building models are worth imbibing techniques for every business entity in pursuit of greater growth and success in its niche.

We have covered each aspect of Tuckman’s phases of team development in our write-up hoping to supply you with insightful updates on the same. The goal is to help you understand the psychology behind team building stages to create a better team for your business productivity in the future. Also, the best way to make use of Tuckman’s Forming–Storming–Norming–Performing (FSNP) models is to understand how each stage works and where your leadership fits in for your development team’s growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Teams can navigate through the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing effectively by:

  • Building Trust: Foster open communication, mutual respect, and trust among team members.
  • Clarifying Roles and Goals: Define clear roles, responsibilities, and goals to align team members’ efforts towards a common purpose.
  • Managing Conflict: Address conflicts openly and constructively, encourage diverse perspectives, and seek win-win solutions.
  • Establishing Norms: Establish shared norms, values, and guidelines to govern team behavior and interactions.
  • Encouraging Collaboration: Promote collaboration, teamwork, and knowledge sharing to leverage collective expertise and achieve synergy.
  • Providing Support: Offer support, recognition, and feedback to motivate team members and facilitate their professional growth.
  • Adapting to Change: Embrace flexibility and adaptability to navigate through challenges, uncertainties, and changes in the team environment.

The Tuckman Model, also known as the “Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing” model, is a theory developed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965. It describes the stages of group development that teams typically go through when working together towards a common goal. These stages include forming, storming, norming, and performing.

While the Tuckman Model provides valuable insights into the stages of group development, it is important to note that not all teams progress through the stages in a linear fashion. Teams may experience setbacks, regressions, or skip stages altogether depending on various factors such as team dynamics, leadership styles, and project complexity. Additionally, the model does not account for the impact of external factors or changes in team composition, which can influence group dynamics and performance.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development, also known as the Tuckman model, is a theoretical framework that describes the stages that groups typically go through as they form, develop, and achieve effectiveness. The four stages in Tuckman’s model are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.

Ashish Aggarwal
Head of Delivery

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