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Putting Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development into Action!

Researcher Dr. Bruce Tuckman originally established four stages of team development as a way to improve teamwork and help companies increase efficiency. Years later, Dr. Tuckman, along with a colleague, added a fifth stage (Scully, 2020).

These stages are called “Tuckman’s Stages”, or “The Five Stages of Group Development”. Described as a cyclical tool by Matt Adolphe (2018), as opposed to a linear set of stages with an end, the five stages consist of Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.

The Forming stage occurs when a team first meets. During this time the team is learning new things about each other, backgrounds, interests, etc. Like meeting anyone new, this stage can come with a fair amount of uncertainty, insecurity, and anxiety. While the members of the team get to know each other. During this stage it is imperative that a team leader provides clear direction and goals. It is usually best to have a professional facilitate the first meeting, along with providing tools to leadership on how to establish a clear vision for their team.


The Storming stage occurs when the team begins to work together. Moving through this stage successfully is important for a team’s overall success!!! During this period team members are getting to know each other better, competing for status and acceptance, sharing opinions, and often disagreeing...a lot.


Conflict easily occurs in this stage and will only end when team members are able to accept each other and work together successfully to compete the task at hand. Team leaders in this stage should facilitate healthy communication and boundaries with the team, ensuring quality listening, and respect. It is also important that leaders identify the traits of the team members in order to set individual goals for members, like coaching some team members to be better listeners, and some may need guidance to be more assertive.


The Norming stage occurs when the team is getting into the flow of things and beginning to work more effectively as a unit. During this phase of the process, individual goals are set aside, and team members are beginning to trust each other and seek out assistance and input when working on tasks. The differences that caused conflict during the storming stage are now acknowledged and appreciated. The goal of the team leader during this time is to take a step back in decision making and problem solving allowing the team to develop natural ways of working together and take on more responsibility as they work towards a common goal while overseeing the progress and stepping in only when necessary.


The Performing stage occurs when the team is functioning at a high level after getting to know each well. During this stage team members work effectively and efficiently to get the job done and met goals as a team. Team leaders provide oversight during this stage, but at this point the team should be solving their own problems and handling conflicts within the group without interrupting the project or motivation to complete the tasks at hand. This stage is difficult to attain, and team leaders must maintain oversight to ensure the team does not regress back to the storming stage as is possible if team members begin acting independently of the team’s overall goal.


In the Adjourning stage, the group project is ending, and members are going off into different directions, or putting focus into different areas. It is imperative that the team leader provides support during this time as members may be sad at the completion of the project and the separating of the team. The team leader should take the time to celebrate the success of the completed project and document the tools that were successful for future use.


Abudi, G. (2021). 5 stages of Team Development: Tuckman's group stages. Project-Management.com. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://project-management.com/stages-of-team-development/

Adolphe, Matt (2018). Overview of Tuckman's 5 Stages of Team Development. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK60fze1_Qw


Scully, D. (2020). The 5 stages of Team Development. Project and Team Management Software. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.teamwork.com/blog/the-5-stages-of-team-development-what-you-need-to-know/






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