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Tuckmans Team Development Model

Tuckmans Team Development Model

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Published by Mubeen Shaikh

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Published by: Mubeen Shaikh on Dec 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The four stages of team forming is an evergreen model used by countless facilitators who conductteambuilding or leadership related workshops. Frequently, though
it is just touched upon in a verysuperficial way. The model though holds great substance and relevance while conducting experientialteam building activities.Lets take a dive into the model:
In 1938, Dr. Bruce Tuckman, a renowned psychologist introduced the 4-stage team developmentalmodel that is now known very well. Less common to most, Dr. Tuckman has added a fifth stage to the
model in 1965 which is the “adjourning” stage. Let’s walk through the 5 stages.
   P  e  r   f  o  r  m  a  n  c  e
Forming Storming Norming Performing Adjourning
Infant Puberty Adolescence Maturity Reversion
 At Communication Level 
Courteous,HierarchicalBroken down,unstructuredStructured andreflectiveGenerative,productive,creating networkPurposeful,conclusive
 At Relationship Level 
Polite, curious,wary, awkward andtenseStressful, fiery,clique forming,disagreementsStable roles, rulesdefined,reflective, WEbefore ISeeks fordevelopment,trusting,openness,enabledBondedmemories,maintainsconnection,anxiety, insecure
 At Task Level 
Informationgathering,adjustmentsDefineboundariesStructured,organized, cleargoals and targetsTask oriented,creative, PDCA,drivenHanding over,concluding
Leadership Style
Directing (telling) Coaching(advising)Participative(facilitating andenabling)Delegating(overseeing)Directing(concluding)
The diagram above presents the 5 stages and its relation to one another.
Forming is the initial stage for all team formation. Members are curious about each other;communication is generally superficial and courteous. It can be hierarchical especially for some newteams that were formed with a defined structure. Occasion awkwardness can be felt as the each
member is adjusting to the new “team atmosphere”. If a leader has been appointed, the situation calls
for a directive style in leading as the team is in a volatile stage, waiting for someone to shine the light.
Getting into disagreement is inevitable for teams. As part the growing stage, if the storm does not sinkthe ship, it will make the crew stronger. It is common that intra-group communication breaks down andit bears no structure too. Cliques started forming to establish pecking order, frequent disagreementsresult in tension
filling the “team atmosphere”. Boundaries are taking shape but it is still very vague to
the members. A leader under such situation should play as a coach, giving timely advices to themembers, as such taking the team out of the storm gradually.
Out of the storm, come the still waters. Progressively, intra-group communication of the team takes ona clearer structure. Crucially team members are reflective of their behaviors that led or lagged the
team’s performance. Roles and responsibilities are in place, stability is felt by all. Imperatives to the
team, goals and targets are well defined and accepted by the members. A leader should facilitate andenable the members to act at this stage.
Most wanted by all teams, is the stage of performing. A trusting attitude and openness enables them toresolve any conflicts without needing intervention from the leader. Not only is the team driven and taskoriented, each member is also well equipped with the required functional skills to act and perform.Seeking for development opportunities from the leader is common in this stage. The leader takes a backseat by delegation of tasks to the members and things will get done.
This st
age signifies each member’s departure from the team. Usually, the required tasks have been
completed and the purpose has been achieved. Members can now move on to new tasks or anotherteam. It is common to hand over the incomplete tasks to another team. However, the members willretain the memories of their successful journey. Adjourning also means changing and inadvertently, thiswould induce uncertainly and anxiety to some members. The exiting leader should exercise resolutionand firmness when communicating the impending changes.

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