The Four Stages of a Team

Teams are not born. Teams are not created by a senior leader. Teams are not easy to create by using a guide book.

Teams are formed and developed through hard work and plenty of consultation.

Many organizations love to express how many teams they have and how well each of them are doing by sharing metrics, starts and anecdotes. This may or may not be true. One thing is true – it takes time and effort to become a high-functioning team. You may or may be aware of the concept of the four stages a team must progress through to become amazing. These stages include: forming, storming, norming and performing. This model was created by Bruce Tuchman in 1965, yet it is often overlooked.


This fist stage is all about individuals starting to work together. They may have worked together in pairs or triads but not as an entire team. So they must agree to work together and begin to create behaviours, rules, and relationships to become a team. This stage is usually quite simple and straightforward, unlike the next stage…


The length and challenges of this stage are not predictable. However, each team will go through some growing pains to figure how best to discuss issues, resolve conflicts, collaborate, and achieve goals. Some teams go through this quickly if each of its members are skilled at Crucial Conversations, courage in the face of difficulties, and the ability to truly consult. The next stage is what most teams get to but don’t surpass.


This third stage is where things begin to stabilize. This is the goal for many teams. Yet, once a team achieves this stage of consistency and predictability, the team is usually broken up and spread around into new groups and projects. If an organization’s team never move beyond this stage then maybe it still follow the old way of thinking that people are resources instead that people are individuals and need to be invested in their growth through long-term stable teams.


If a team is able to achieve this level of maturity and excellence, then it can shatter previous goals and restrictions of effectiveness and productivity. A team at this level is a force to be reckoned with in that it can shape the organizations through its ability to create something out of nothing, and spearhead the most daunting goals. This is the ideal goal for each and every team.

Four Stages of Team Development

Typical Journey of a Team

Leadership and senior management would do well to consider these stages to better support their people and be able to create a more unified and productive workforce. I am sure that each of their employees would love such a leader.

Warm regards,

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