Home Concepts Strategy Coaching with Groups and Teams The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

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Reflections on the Journey

Forming, storming, norming, performing: the four predictable stages of (cyclical, often repeated) Team development can provide powerful insights for the leader(s) as well as members of the group or Team (as well as their coaches or consultants). These insights concern what is happening to members individually and collectively. They can also help the group (and its leaders) determine what to do about the developmental challenges they are now facing.  Leaders and members can appreciate and thereby better cope with the stress and apprehension that accompany any shift in the functioning of the Team or leadership roles over time.

As mentioned above, this stage theory can also help leaders and members of their group or team determine which guidelines are most appropriate at particular times in the life of the group or team. Guidelines concerned with membership, acquaintance, and the availability of information are obviously more important at the forming stage, whereas guidelines concerned with agendas, decision-making operations and clarity about actions taken are more important at the performing stage. Nevertheless, some of these latter guidelines might be appropriate at early stages of development, not to enhance productivity but rather to provide some structure that helps to reduce anxiety and accelerate movement toward the performing stage of the Team.

Points to Keep in Mind

In exploring the interpersonal needs and sources of gratification for members of a group as it moves to the stage of higher performance as a Team, it is important to remember that the group was formed and aspires to become a Team on behalf of a greater convening purpose. The primary concern should always be with getting the work done and achieving specific goals.

It is also important to focus on the integration of diverse needs that are manifest among members of the group as it moves toward becoming a Team. A key question should be engaged by each member of the group or team and by the group or team as a whole: “How do I (we) get multiple needs met in this group or team in a way that advances (rather than blocks) achievement of specific goals?”

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