1 Objectives Learn about the four stages of team development Recognize the characteristics and challenges encountered at each stage of developmentLearn about ways in which team leaders and other members can help teams move through the stages of team development
2 Essential QuestionsWhat are the stages of team development, and in what ways does knowledge of these stages help team members to promote more effective collaborative processes?What strategies can team leaders and other team members use to help teams move through the stages of team development?
3 Agenda Opening reflection on team development (10 minutes) Overview of the stages of team development (40 minutes)Forming, storming, norming, and performingClosing questions and discussion (10 minutes)
4 Reflecting on Positive and Challenging Team Experiences The questions above are meant to provide participants with a way to begin thinking about the fact that most teams go through stages of team development. While most teams would like to be thought of as “high performing” teams, it takes time and effort on the part of team leaders and other team members to move from the early stages of forming a team to later stages of working respectfully, collaboratively, and efficiently. As participants talk about their own experiences on teams, you can link their examples of positive and challenging experiences to the idea that teams, like people, take time to grow and develop. Knowledge of the stages of team development sometimes helps team members feel better about the fact that their team occasionally struggles. There are, however, things that team leaders and other team members can do to support teams in their development.Reflecting on Positive and Challenging Team ExperiencesThink about a team of which you are a member, and which attempts to be a collaborative team.Is your team one that you would describe as being primarily positive or challenging?What examples can you share to illustrate both positive and challenging experiences?
5 Four Stages of Group Development There is a relatively large body of literature from education, psychology, and the private sector that talks about the ways that teams develop (e.g., Friend & Cook, 2003; Tuckman & Jenson, 1977). Most researchers agree that teams generally move through four stages of development. While authors assign some different names to the stages, this module uses the terms that are best known in the field: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Forming refers to the first stage of development in which teams come together and begin to identify what they want to accomplish and how they will work together. Storming refers to the second stage, in which teams encounter some differences of opinion that occasionally lead to a more uncomfortable form of conflict. In stage three, norming, teams develop strategies for working through conflict and using it in more positive and creative ways. Finally, stage four, or performing refers to the highest stage of team development in which teams are highly effective and make excellent use of creative problem solving. It is important to note that teams develop at different rates, and that not all go through the four stages in a linear way. Many effective teams develop their own identities, so that a high performing team may not use all of the structures that we typically see in a newly forming team. Finally, it is important to note that leadership is critical in team development. The leader of a stage one or two team may need to play a stronger role in helping the team establish its structure and processes. By the time a team gets to stage four, however, there is less need for one person to take responsibility for leading the team. At this stage, leadership may be shared by all team members. If possible, slides 5 – 9 should be printed as handouts so that participants can take notes on the presentation.Four Stages of Group DevelopmentFormingStormingNormingPerforming
6 The slide above gives an idea of what a stage 1 team looks like and needs to do in order to establish a good foundation for future collaboration. While some members may feel that early discussions about how to form the team seem like a lot of process with minimal completion of tasks, effective team leaders can model the importance of laying this groundwork in order to avoid confusion and conflict in the future. It is critical for new teams to know what their purpose is and what they would like to accomplish. The establishment of group norms provides an opportunity for team members to discuss how they would like to function and communicate with one another. Examples of group norms typically used by collaborative teams include:We will not interrupt one another.We will respect diverse points of view.We may judge ideas, but not people.We will strive for equal participation (e.g., equal talking time for everyone).We will promote creative problem solving and risk taking.We will tell people when we think their ideas are valuable.We will clarify decisions that have been made.We will start and end meetings on time.New teams need to decide on the processes they will use to work together, including how often they will meet, what roles will be used, how agendas and minutes will be used, how decisions will be made, and how they will monitor their progress as a team. Leaders of stage one teams may need to provide a lot of guidance to the team in order to accomplish all that needs to be done to form an effective team.After presenting this information, you may wish to ask participants to give their own examples of activities and processes they have found helpful in newly forming teams. You might also ask participants to give examples of stage 1 teams that have not worked too well, and let them identify how knowledge of the first stage of team development might have been used to help that team.Stage One: FormingDefinition: Stage 1 teams are generally new teams that are learning how to work togetherCharacteristics of stage 1 teams: Members tend to be tentative and polite and to have little conflictCritical skills and activities: Stage 1 teams need to identify their purpose, develop group norms, identify group processes, define roles, build relationships and trustRole of facilitator/leader: Stage 1 teams usually need a strong leader who can help the team go through its forming activities
7 Like all relationships, collaborative teams eventually encounter challenges. These may take the form of disagreements over issues, conflict over role distribution and the accomplishment of tasks, disagreements about the team’s use of process and structure, unevenness in participation (e.g., some voices are heard much more than others), and issues related to power and control. The good news is that conflict can also lead to better and more creative problem solving, a greater sense of responsibility, and better team outcomes. The primary challenge of a stage 2 team is to move the team from viewing conflict as undesirable to viewing it as something that can be used to enhance the team process and decision-making. Strategies for working through conflict include:Use a group processing strategy that allow members to surface issues that are causing challenges for this team (e.g., take time at the end of a meeting to hold a round robin discussion about what challenges the team is facing; give team members index cards on which they can write their concerns about the team’s functioning)Clarify the team’s purpose, structure and use of roles to ensure that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and takes personal responsibility.Re-visit the team’s norms to ensure that they are being followed and to add new norms as needed.Develop strategies to ensure that all members have the opportunity to share their ideas during meetings.For some teams, the most difficult step is to identify the nature and cause of conflict. It can feel easier to ignore conflict, but it rarely disappears on its own. This task frequently falls to the appointed team leader or facilitator; however, there are times when other team members need to step forward and share their concerns about the team.After presenting this information, you may wish to ask participants to describe any stage 2 teams that they have experienced, including the degree to which the team was successful in moving on to stage 3.StormingDefinition: Stage 2 teams have moved past the early forming stages and are now encountering some disagreements and/or conflict. This is natural, but teams need to find effective ways to handle conflict before they can move on to stage 3.Group characteristics: Members of stage 2 teams tend to exhibit increased conflict, less conformity and “jockeying” for power.Critical skills and activities: Stage 2 teams need to learn how to resolve conflict; clarify their roles, power, and structure; and build consensus through re-visiting purpose.Role of leader(s): Stage 2 teams need leaders and other team members who are willing to identify issues and resolve conflict.
8 Stage 2 is not a place that most teams want to be for too long, so most teams will eventually find ways to move to “norming,” or stage 3. This stage is characterized by utilization of more sophisticated problem-solving and decision-making. Some teams find it helpful to use specific problem-solving protocols, while others develop their own strategies (see module 9 for more on problem-solving). Stage 3 teams continue to work on conflict resolution, but they no longer view conflict as a problem. A key characteristic of stage 3 is the shifting of leadership to include all members of the group. While one person may remain a designated team leader, this person is no longer the primary leader. Leadership may shift from meeting to meeting, depending on what topic is being discussed and who has expertise that is relevant in that area. It is important that the team remains vigilant about including time for processing and monitoring of its functioning. If it fails to do this, the team may revert to some of the patterns observed in stage 2.After discussing the characteristics of a stage 3 team, you may wish to ask participants to talk about experiences they have had with teams where leadership began to be more distributed over time. Ask them to provide strategies that have been successful for them personally in moving to a greater sense of leadership.NormingDefinition: Stage 3 teams have successfully moved out of the storming stage and are ready to move to a higher level of communication and problem-solving.Group characteristics: Members of stage 3 teams demonstrate an improved ability to complete tasks, solve problems, resolve conflict.Critical skills and activities: Stage 3 teams need to learn to engage in more sophisticated problem-solving and decision-making, continue the use of effective strategies for conflict resolution and take greater levels of responsibility for their rolesRole of leader(s): In stage 3, leaders become less directive, team members feel empowered, and multiple leaders emerge
9 Stage 4 teams are not common, but they are needed and enjoyable to be a part of. Key characteristics of stage 4 teams are that they are efficient, energetic, and knowledgeable about both their processes and the content of their work. Some stage 4 teams may decide that they need less structure than they did in earlier stages of their development. Instead, they use flexible roles and structures depending on the task that is to be accomplished. They are very effective at knowing what decisions need to be made by the whole group, and what decisions and activities can be carried out in smaller sub-groups. They ensure that there is good communication between and among the various groups. By the time groups reach stage four, team members feel empowered and there is no longer a need for a single leader. Individual members, at various times, serve in leadership roles based on their knowledge and interests. Team members also remember the need for celebration of the team’s accomplishments and the relationships they have formed with one another.There are, however, some challenges, even in stage four. One of these is that the group may become too complacent about its strengths and take for granted all that needs to be done to maintain a strong team. If and when new members join the team, it is essential that the group is attentive to some of the critical aspects of stage one. They need to help new members understand their purpose, group norms, and group processes. It is critical for stage four teams to be inclusive, especially when new members enter into the team.After discussing this information, you may wish to ask participants to reflect on the following question: Imagine yourself on a stage 4 team. What would be the most valuable aspect of this team to you?PerformingDefinition: Stage 4 teams are at the highest level of performance and can process their strengths and weaknesses while accomplishing their goals.Group characteristics: In stage 4, the team takes a flexible approach to roles and structures depending on the task at hand. The team is able to evaluate its effectiveness and views conflict is viewed as an opportunity. Stage 4 teams tend to be energetic, creative, and fun!Critical skills and activities: Stage 4 teams need to hold high expectations for their performance. They often use sub-groups as well as the large group for decision-making and task completion. Teams also recognize the need to ensure that all members are in agreement with the role and purpose of sub-groups.Role of Leader: In a stage 4 team, it’s often difficult to identify the leader, because everyone is sharing in leadership.
10 Closing What parts of this presentation have been most helpful to you? To close this presentation, ask participants to reflect on what they learned and how they might apply it in their own settings. It is important to note that while the stages of group development are widely accepted and talked about in the literature, they represent a theory of group development. Participants may find that their own experiences will differ somewhat from what has been presented in this module.ClosingWhat parts of this presentation have been most helpful to you?How might you apply your knowledge of the stages of development to your work?
11 SourceFriend, M., & Cook, L. (2003). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Thousand, J., & Villa, R. (1992). Collaborative teams: A powerful tool in restructuring. In R.Villa, J. Thousand, W. Stainback, & S. Stainback (Eds.) Restructuring for caring and effective education: An administrative guide to creating heterogeneous schools. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.