Really Understand the 4 Stages of Team to Get Unstuck


Good morning leaders!!

Today we want to share with you all the 4 stages of team!

Teams are either a very effective way of solving a problem or are a cause for extreme headache and frustration. When groups are formed, we immediately form a vision in mind of our ideal team members and how we want to tackle the project or problem. Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair and in many cases we are forced to work with members we may not work best with. This is common for most teams, and over time all teams tend to move through a similar set of stages.

For this article we will combine two different models. The first developed by Bruce Tuckman, and the second developed by Scott Peck.

Tuckman’s model identifies the 4 stages of team as:

1. Forming

2. Storming

3. Norming

4. Performing


Peck’s community building model identifies the 4 stages of team as:

1. Pseudo-Community

2. Chaos

3. Emptiness

4. True Community

If lacking an outside facilitator, all groups spend a large amount of time in the Forming/Pseudo-Community stage. In this stage, members spend a large amount of time getting to know each other and being polite with one another. A lot of energy and time is wasted in this stage to discover how members appear in the eyes of others rather than being spent on the task at hand.

In the Storming/Chaos stage the team disagrees with each other, and opposing opinions butt heads. This stage is where members truly express themselves and where they think the direction of the team should go. Members shout, blame, point, and become disengaged throughout this stage. As a result, the team then steps backwards into the Forming/Pseudo-Community stage to reconcile and avoid further conflict.

The problem with the above is that it fuels a mediocre performance and result as groups move back and forth between the first two stages. Once a team is able to move past the Storming/Chaos stage, they move on to the Norming/Emptiness stage.

In Norming/Emptiness, team members recognize their own individual strengths and formulate a clear goal while relieving there stress from the previous stage. The group reconciles over what took place in the Storming/Chaos stage and begin to relieve their most inner thoughts and feelings about how the group should perform often by relating to previous personal experience.

Once the team is able to assign roles and has started to take on the project/problem, they reach the Performing/True Community stage. In the Performing/True Community stage team members are aligned to achieve a common goal and are able to make great achievements. With the end goal in sight, group members put aside or resolve personal differences in order to collaborate and focus on successfully completing the task at hand.

Not every team goes through all the 4 stages mentioned above. Most teams either find themselves locked into one stage or moving between multiple stages and a great way of avoiding this is by implementing an outside facilitator.

Consider how many groups you’ve been in the past where members resist sharing information between each other. There is usually another team member that you do not agree with, and as a result you become disengaged and frustrated. Although everything may appear normal on the surface, there is still tension and hostility underneath the surface of the group. In addition to that, you may discover processes or individuals that may slow the group down or divert focus yet doing nothing about it. This is attributed to a lack of effective communication and a fear of the group disbanding.

The above sounds all too familiar for most people because most team tend to fluctuate between the Forming/Pseudo-Community stage and the Storming/Chaos stage. Group members are constantly conflicted between directing the team their way and not wanting to upset their peers. This is where an outside facilitator can help. If you want a choice of 3 powerful programs that can transform the team results – consider:

1. Inspire the Future to align the team toward one common future as a real community
2. Bridge the Gap to allow the team to build the action steps to dissolve chaos and achieve their desired results
3. Meetings that Produce Results to allow the team traction to achieve the organizational goals and leave chaos behind

With an outside facilitator, the group can express their ideas and opinions without feeling unable to disagree with members. The facilitator is able to draw each individual’s opinion and ideas while encouraging and mediating discussion. Outside facilitators look at the group’s behaviours and processes objectively and ensure discussion stays on track, members remain engaged, and that results are produced. With an outside facilitator, members feel accomplished because time is utilized effectively rather than being wasted resulting in a cohesive team with improved collaboration skills.

With the help of an outside facilitator, groups are able to better move through the 4 stages of a team without trapping themselves in one or two stages. So, the next time you are a participant of a team-related problem or project and perhaps need a team intervention, consider the use of an outside facilitator to help drive results!




Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.

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