Tips for managing your team throughout their stages of development

 Apr 15, 2015

Managing a team throughout various stages of development can begin by looking at Tuckman and Jensen's four-phase model for achieving a high performing team.

It’s important for managers to assess which phase their team is in and apply the appropriate strategies for supporting them or moving them through to their next phase.

So, where does your team sit and what can you do to ensure their continued development?

Phase 1 - Forming:

As the name suggests, the team is coming together (e.g. project team) and may be unsure of their role and how they fit into the team.

You can encourage team building with low risk tasks and activities that will facilitate team members to get to know each other. It's important to involve them in goal setting and work planning at this stage.

Phase 2 - Storming:

In this stage, team members discover differences which could lead to conflict. This can interfere with team and work progress. Some teams are working on the informal “pecking order."

It’s important you continue with your plans but constantly evaluate and adjust them as necessary. Identify any conflict as soon as possible and deal with it promptly by supporting and helping them resolve it.

Phase 3 - Norming:

As opposed to the previous stage, team members start to discover similarities in the Norming stage. Things settle down and team performance typically improves. In this stage, similarities can lead to social interaction which should be closely monitored to avoid a drop in performance.

Ensure you keep the team focused on the goal and encourage social activities outside of work time.

Phase 4 - Performing:

At this stage, team members will be very comfortable with each other and work well together.

Your role is to offer resources and support. Keep monitoring their performance as your team may be at risk of dropping back to previous stages due to even the slightest change.

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About the Author:

Trish Dobe  

Trish has over 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management, and corporate learning & development both within Australia and overseas. As one of New Horizons' Professional Development trainers, Trish’s main focus is the delivery of solutions which enable organisations to measurably improve their performance. Trish specialises in the delivery of training programs in the areas of performance management, leadership, process improvement, sales and customer service. From a practical standpoint, she has held a number of roles varying from front-line through to senior management within a variety of commercial environments. With this, Trish brings her practical experience into the classroom and gives her the ability to engage professionals from junior to senior levels.

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