form storm norm perform 4 stages

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Forming

The team meets and learns about the opportunities and challenges, and then agrees on goals and begins to tackle the tasks. Team members tend to behave quite independently. They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of the team. Team members are usually on their best behavior but very focused on themselves. Mature team members begin to model appropriate behavior even at this early phase. The meeting environment also plays an important role to model the initial behaviors of each individual. The major task functions also concern orientation. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another. Discussion centers around defining the scope of the task, how to approach it, and similar concerns. To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict.

Storming

In this stage “…participants form opinions about the character and integrity of the other participants and feel compelled to voice these opinions if they find someone shirking responsibility or attempting to dominate. Sometimes participants question the actions or decision of the leader as the expedition grows harder…”.[2] Disagreements and personality clashes must be resolved before the team can progress out of this stage, and so some teams may never emerge from “storming”[3] or re-enter that phase if new challenges or disputes arise.[4]In Tuckman’s 1965 paper, only 50% of the studies identified a stage of intragroup conflict, and some of the remaining studies jumped directly from stage 1 to stage 3.[5] Some groups may avoid the phase altogether, but for those who don’t, the duration, intensity, and destructiveness of the “storms” can be varied. Tolerance of each team member and their differences should be emphasized; without tolerance and patience, the team will fail. This phase can become destructive to the team and will lower motivation if allowed to get out of control. Some teams will never develop past this stage; however, disagreements within the team can make members stronger, more versatile, and able to work more effectively as a team. Supervisors of the team during this phase may be more accessible but tend to remain directive in their guidance of decision-making and professional behavior. The team members will, therefore, resolve their differences and members will be able to participate with one another more comfortably. The idea is that they will not feel that they are being judged, and will, therefore, share their opinions and views. Normally tension, struggle and sometimes arguments occur. This stage can also be upsetting.

Norming

“Resolved disagreements and personality clashes result in greater intimacy, and a spirit of cooperation emerges.” [2] This happens when the team is aware of the competition and they share a common goal. In this stage, all team members take the responsibility and have the ambition to work for the success of the team’s goals. They start tolerating the whims and fancies of the other team members. They accept others as they are and make an effort to move on. The danger here is that members may be so focused on preventing conflict that they are reluctant to share controversial ideas.

Performing

“With group norms and roles established, group members focus on achieving common goals, often reaching an unexpectedly high level of success.”[6] By this time, they are motivated and knowledgeable. The team members are now competent, autonomous and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision. Dissent is expected and allowed as long as it is channeled through means acceptable to the team.

Supervisors of the team during this phase are almost always participating. The team will make most of the necessary decisions. Even the most high-performing teams will revert to earlier stages in certain circumstances. Many long-standing teams go through these cycles many times as they react to changing circumstances. For example, a change in leadership may cause the team to revert to storming as the new people challenge the existing norms and dynamics of the team.

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