Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Mourning.
Sometimes it is not easy to power up and switch a group or team on to a project or a new direction. It takes time for them to hit it off and work to a common goal. Group members go through stages as they move from being strangers to working together.
Tuckman created the memorable phrase “forming, storming, norming, and performing” in 1965. It is a model you can use for nurturing a group or team to high performance. The model describes the stages. When you understand it, you’ll know how to help your new team to become effective faster.
Groups and teams reach a final stage in a project. When a group or project come to an end, participants disband and go their different ways. Those people who like routine, or who have developed close working relationships within the group, may find this time difficult.
Power up during the ‘Forming’ Stage?
When a new group forms, participants will be unsure of the reasons for coming together and what they can expect. It is the time to clarify your objectives for the group and the outcomes you want them to achieve. Make every effort to introduce every member of the group correctly. They will be excited, anxious, sceptical and curious, looking to you for direction. It will take time, as everyone gets to know the group and one another’s personalities and ways of communicating.
Help the participants in getting to know one another during breaks. Perhaps a social gathering before the workshop would be beneficial and save time on the day. If you’re working remotely, be sure all participants can use the technology.
For this first stage, establish clear objectives for the group, and help group members to set personal goals so they can see how they will fit and gain tangible benefits.
Power up during the ‘Storming’ stage?
During the storming stage, people start to push against their established beliefs and boundaries. Conflict can arise as their real characters, and their preferred ways of working begin to surface.
If roles and responsibilities aren’t clear, individuals might begin to feel overwhelmed by what is unfolding or frustrated at a lack of progress. Group members may even challenge your authority as well as the objectives. Rising tensions, even unwanted and unhelpful confrontations can quickly follow.
Storming can make or break a group, so you must establish processes to track the progress and success as you progress. The group must also feel safe in, suggesting their viewpoint. You have to focus on building trust by encouraging members to reflect on their views and what they need from other group members. Try asking for help with various tasks.
During this stage, you may have to assist the quitter members and control dominating individuals while others have their say. Be sure and seek everyone’s point of view.
Power up during the ‘Norming’ stage?
Slowly the group will arrive at this stage. Members start to resolve their differences, appreciate one another’s input and strengths, and respect your authority as their leader.
When they know one another better, they will feel more comfortable asking for help and offering constructive feedback. Members will begin to share more of their personal feelings and will start to make a more substantial commitment to the group’s objectives, as well as their own. You can look forward to good progress which will happen during this stage.
Have the members continue to bond with face-to-face encounters and team-building exercises. Social connections become more meaningful, and the need for deeper engagement even more critical if objectives are to become real to the group. Help individual members to keep reviewing their goals.
Power up during the ‘Performing’ stage?
Now the group becomes more energised and anxious to meet and exceed their original goals and the group’s objectives. With a little work and structured processes, the focused group is now likely to achieve the goals and objectives efficiently.
Relationships in the group tend to become closer and more fluid, with members taking on extra responsibilities as may be required. Differences and strengths of individual members are starting to be appreciated and used to enhance everyone’s performance.
When the team becomes settled into this stage, you can focus on other goals and new areas to benefit individuals. Now is the time to start streaming individual members personal development. Discuss with each participant what other opportunities and resources are available to them and how they might proceed into the future.
What happens during the ‘Mourning’ stage?
Take the time to review and celebrate the group’s achievements. The positive shared experiences could well lead to long-lasting and beneficial friendships while making it f you work to with some of the same people again in the future.
If any participants feel uncertain about what’s ahead for them, boost their confidence and prospects by praising their efforts, and offer to provide additional support as they move on with their life.
Don’t forget to ask the group for feedback; it will also help the individuals to think, reflect and plan to manage their journey into the future better.
You can use Tuckman’s model to help a team froma business or non-profit organisation to perform better. Remember, individuals can slip back into their old ways and may need som additions support to keep mi0oving forward. Help them to make necessary changes to get back on the right pathway.
“Had we a privilege of calling up by the power of memory only such passages as were pleasing, unmixed with such as were disagreeable, we might then excite at pleasure an ideal happiness, perhaps more poignant than actual sensation”. Henry Tuckerman
“It is amusing to detect character in the vocabulary of each person. The adjectives habitually used, as the inscriptions on a thermometer, indicate the temperament”. Henry Tuckerman