Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop. Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all, in the least time.

In this short series, I discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result.

In my last three posts in this series,  I discussed Stage 1 Forming, Stage 2 Storming and Stage 3 Norming. In Stage 1 we described how the group will be looking for ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. In Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved. Now, in Stage 4 the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results.

Not all groups are able to reach Stage 4; they achieve the task but without ever truly excelling.

Stage 4 – Performing.

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 3, the group will now be delivering the task with a high degree of openness, trust, confidence and autonomy.

The work itself is carried out to a high standard and the group take pride in group results and superior performance. Problems are seen as opportunities and they are tackled constructively.

The group can make decisions and solve problems quickly. People may challenge each other and there are can be healthy differences of opinion.  But these are resolved in a friendly manner.  The group has the confidence to review and revise work processes if necessary. New ways of doing things are considered and incorporated.

Leading the group through Stage 4 – Performing

What is the role of the leader? With a group in Stage 4, the leader does not need to be involved in decision-making, problem solving or the day-to-day work of the team. People now work effectively as a group. The leader monitors progress and celebrates achievements; this helps to maintain morale and the performance of the group. The leader is also the conduit for any strategic decisions which need to be made at a higher level, for the group to complete their work.

What if they don’t stay in Stage 4 – Performing?

There remains a possibility that the group could revert back to an earlier stage. For example, if someone leaves, new members join or one of the existing members starts to work independently or outside the rules (formal or informal) subscribed to by the rest of the group.  It is possible then for the team to revert back to an earlier stage, until they have come to term with the change or the issues are resolved. If this happens, the leader should become more actively engaged again.  This could mean more close supervision for a while and encouraging them to have the confidence to go back to trying out new ideas and working independently, while remaining part of the group. They need you to be a cheerleader again – encouraging your group and recognizing them for the good work they are doing.

Now we are moving towards completion of the task – the next post will be about Stage 5 Adjourning

I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions.  Please share your own experience of handling Stage 4. What lessons do you have to pass on to others?

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com 
http://wisewolfcoaching.

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

 

Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop. Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all in the least time.

In this short series, I discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result. In my two last posts in this series,  I discussed Stage 1 Forming and Stage 2 Storming. In Stage 1 we described how the group will be looking for some ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. Now in Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved.

Stage 3 – Norming.

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 2, the group will now be resolving any conflicts which have arisen.  People become much less defensive and are willing to change their preconceived ideas or opinions on the basis of facts presented.  They ask questions of one another.   Leadership starts to be shared and cliques break up in the light of new information and new relationships.  A sense of group belonging emerges.

People share feelings and exchange ideas.  They explore possible actions for reaching the goals and creativity is high. They are on their way to being organized so that they can achieve their goals.

Trust builds and information flows well! Roles and responsibilities become clear and are accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement and smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity are strong.

Leading the group through Stage 3 – Norming

What is the role of the leader?  The leader facilitates, enables and makes sure that data keeps flowing between group members.  Encourage the group by congratulating them when they listen to each other and work cooperatively. Now is the time to make sure they put in place detailed plans and systems, and standards, for completing the work. Encourage them to work together to achieve the task.

What if they get stuck in Stage 3 – Norming

Some groups stay in Stage 3 and complete the task with a degree of dependence on you as the team leader and others in the group.  The main danger of Stage 3 is  that members may begin to fear the inevitable future break-up of the group, so they may resist change of any sort.   This can mean they may not find novel and original solutions to problems.  Encourage the group to try out new ideas, and approaches, and to develop the confidence to work independently while remaining part of the group. Be a cheerleader – encourage your group and recognize them for the good work they are doing.

Now we are moving towards excellence  – the next post will be about Stage 4 Performing

I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions.  Please share your own experience of handling Stage 3. What lessons do you have to pass on to others?

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop. Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all in the least time.

In this short series of posts, I discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result. In my last post (at this link) I discussed Stage 1 Forming. In Stage 1 we described how the group will be looking for some ground rules. In Stage 2, as you will see, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be.

Stage 2 – Storming.

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 1, the group will now have some goals.  But they are not yet organized so that they can achieve them.  By now they have been together long enough to stop needing to be on their best behaviour.

They may begin to debate how they should go forward. What are the priorities going to be and who is going to take which role in the team?  What systems and processes are going to be put in place?

Differences of opinion and beliefs can lead to conflict and they may begin to jockey for position. Power struggles may break out, particularly if you have a number of strong personalities vying to lead.  They may begin to challenge you as group leader and cliques may form.

Leading the group through Stage 2 – Storming

So what can you do?  The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationship and emotional issues.  Some compromises need to be made and you need to help them find the middle ground. You need to start selling ideas and the benefits of what you are trying to do.  There needs to be lots of communication. The group needs to understand the importance of the task, the processes needed and their roles.  If all is going well the group will move quickly through this stage to agree some “norms” for working together.

What if they get stuck in Stage 2 – Storming

If necessary, your may need to set down the ground rules for group behaviour and get the group to agree that they should treat each other with respect.  You need to keep a close eye on the debate – if it is about ideas, that is a good sign and they can be left to work it out if time allows. But if the debate becomes personal then you will need to intervene.  Don’t suppress conflict completely because the group will stagnate and not learn to work together very well.  This is where planning social events can help so that individuals begin to see each other in a more rounded way.

If necessary, tighten up the goals and targets!  Get the group to focus very sharply upon them and the benefits which will be lost if people are not prepared to compromise and reach agreement.  If cliques have formed, try putting people to work with others outside their chosen subgroup so that new relationships can be established.

Now we are moving towards the real work  – the next post will be about Stage 3 Norming

I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions.  Please share your own experience of handling Stage 2. What lessons do you have to pass on to others?

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop.

Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman.

Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!

A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all in the least time.

In this short series of posts, I’m going to discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result.

Stage 1 – Forming.

When they first come together in a group, people are cautious.  Usually, they want to get to know each other and to get on with the task.  But, they might be a bit anxious.  They are usually tentative and tend to check each other out. Generally they are polite and somewhat reserved.

The group wants to work out how they should behave.  At this stage, they are not likely to challenge each other or you, as their leader. They want to understand properly why they are there – what is the task and what is this really about?  The group wants to know what they are being asked to do and how they expected to do it.

No one feel very comfortable – are there any hidden agendas?

They are looking for the “ground rules”.

This stage can feel frustrating for the leader because things can feel as if they are moving very slowly.

Leading the group through Stage 1 – Forming

So what can you do?  Well, you need to provide a safe environment in which the group can operate and you need to set some goals for them to achieve.

But let then have some time to get to know each other! Allow people an opportunity to share their hopes and their anxieties.  (You might recognise now why trained facilitators put so much store by ice-breakers).

If you pace the group carefully, they will move through this stage and not get stuck.  Encourage them all to contribute.

What if they get stuck in Stage 1 – Forming

If they get stuck then you will need to become more directive.

  • Involve them in setting the goals
  • Let them air their reservations.
  • Get those ground rules out in the open air
  • Get people to agree the ground rules.
  • Support anyone who shows reticence so that their confidence develops.

Then stand by because you need to go through Stage 2 Storming before the real work begins and Stage 2 can be turbulent.

You can find other posts in this series at these links;  Stage 1 Forming, Stage 2 Storming, Stage 3 Norming, Stage 4 Performing and Stage 5 Adjourning

Wendy Smith is a personal coach and writer at Wisewolf Coaching. She is a qualified coach and a member of the Association for Coaching as well as being a member of the Institute of Consulting and a graduate of the Common Purpose leadership programme.  Wendy is author of “The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book: How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters” as well as two novels and a number of articles on management and well-being. Her latest publication is a little eBook; “How to Get on With the Boss.”  You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman

Bruce Tuckman  is best known for a short article, ‘Developmental sequence in small groups’,  first published in 1965.

Never heard of him? Well, I expect you  have heard of his theory –  he wrote about Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing!

Now I love Dr Tuckman’s theory, so I was even happier when he added a  fifth stage (Adjourning) in the 1970s to cover the end-game in his explanation of how groups develop.

Dr Tuckman is now professor of Educational Psychology at the Ohio State University, where he is also Founding Director of the Walter E. Dennis Learning Center.  He has focused on motivation and he has gone on to look at how interventions such as goal setting, planning, and incentives affect behaviour. He has also written a novel The Long Road to Boston (1988).

The first four-stage model evolved out of his observations of group behaviour in a variety of settings and his encounter with the literature; including psychoanalytic studies of therapy or T-groups.

After completing his doctorate, Dr Tuckman worked with the industrial psychology lab at Princeton and went on to research small-group and organizational behaviour.  He was part of a small group of social psychologists in a think tank studying small group behaviour to help the US Navy prepare for modern vessels and stations with small crews.

He thought that if people could better understand how groups develop, it would be possible to improve group effectiveness and functioning.

This is how Dr Tuckman described the stages in his original article:

“Groups initially concern themselves with orientation accomplished primarily through testing. Such testing serves to identify the boundaries of both interpersonal and task behaviors. Coincident with testing in the interpersonal realm is the establishment of dependency relationships with leaders, other group members, or pre‑existing standards. It may be said that orientation, testing and dependence constitute the group process of forming.

The second point in the sequence is characterized by conflict and polarization around interpersonal issues, with concomitant emotional responding in the task sphere. These behaviors serve as resistance to group influence and task requirements and may be labeled as storming.

Resistance is overcome in the third stage in which in-group feeling and cohesiveness develop, new standards evolve, and new roles are adopted. In the task realm, intimate, personal opinions are expressed. Thus, we have the stage of norming.

Finally, the group attains the fourth and final stage in which interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task activities. Roles become flexible and functional, and group energy is channeled into the task. Structural issues have been resolved, and structure can now become supportive of task performance. This stage can be labeled as performing.” (Tuckman 1965 – page 78 in the 2001 reprint)

In 1977 Dr Tuckman proposed an update of the model (in collaboration with Mary Ann Jensen).  Later he commented: We reviewed 22 studies that had appeared since the original publication of the model and which we located by means of the Social Sciences Citation Index. These articles, one of which dubbed the stages the ‘Tuckman hypothesis’ tended to support the existence of the four stages but also suggested a fifth stage for which a perfect rhyme could not be found. We called it ‘adjourning’. (Tuckman 1984)

Adjourning involves dissolution. It entails the termination of roles, the completion of tasks and reduction of dependency (Forsyth 1990: 77).  This stage can be seen as ‘mourning’ – there has been a loss and this is often felt by former participants. This can be stressful – particularly where the dissolution is unplanned.  In project management, for example, managing this end game requires particular skills in the project manager if the work of the team is going to be fully valued.

There have been many debates around the Tuckman theory and the need for a model of group development.  But I fully believe the claim that small groups tend to follow a fairly predictable path. That has certainly been my experience but I’d be very interested to hear the views of others.

Wendy Smith is a career and life coach with depth of experience in career coaching, business coaching and personal development. She helps clients find a new career direction, start-up new businesses and achieve a better work/life balance. You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

Leading Change – do you have a great vision?

A great vision needs to be about the future but it will fail if it is not firmly rooted in the present. You may wish to change a group but you can’t ignore its history, culture and organization.  Most of all you need to make sure there is a connection to its values.

This is where those who are new to the organization sometimes come adrift when leading and managing change.  Even if you are trying to move existing values on, you cannot totally ignore them in your vision for the future.  Somehow in your change, those in the existing organization need to feel that their present values are being honoured.

Your vision needs to have roots but it needs to be future focussed and challenging – it needs to reflect and set high standards, and high ideals.  Make your vision something that people will want to live up to.  That means it will keep chins high when you hit the difficult patches!

Your vision should inspire – you want it to raise enthusiasm and commitment. It is much more likely to do that if it touches the needs and aspirations of all those who have a stake in it.  This includes not only those inside the organization but also clients, customers, users and, if possible, your suppliers.

Make sure your vision can be understood – communicate it well.  Make it clear and unambiguous! Paint pictures when you talk about it that people can take away and imagine for themselves.  Make this a future they can see in their minds and want to be a part of.

Make your vision unique and distinctive – not to be confused with where we said we were going five years ago.  This must be special.

Above all make your vision ambitious!  Make sure that people can see that real progress will have been made when your vision is achieved.  This should be a vision that expands everyone’s horizons.

So to sum up your vision needs to be

  1. Appropriate to your history, culture and values
  2. Challenging with high standards and high ideals
  3. Inspirational
  4. Aspirational – reflecting the aspirations of all those with an interest
  5. Understandable
  6. Distinctive
  7. Ambitious

I’d love to hear you experience of working with visions – what has worked for you and what has not worked?

  • Leading Change – Your Vision in an Uncertain Future – Scenario Planning (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – deciding who leads! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition (wisewolftalking.com)


Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Leading Change – deciding who leads!

Challenge kart

Last week I wrote about putting a group together to lead your change – creating a guiding coalition (Kotter Stage 3).

This group needs to include both managers and leaders and they will work together as a team.  The managers will keep the process under control while the leaders will drive the change.

A group with good managers but poor leaders is likely to produce plans but have no compelling vision. It will not communicate the need for change well enough for it to become meaningful –  it will control rather than empower people.

While a group that has all leaders and no managers is unlikely to be organized enough to create the short-term wins necessary to keep others on board for the long-haul – it will not sustain a change initiative.

You need a group that can convince people that change is necessary in the short term.  Then keep them actively engaged through-out the process, so that you can achieve the long-term goal.

Has your organization has been successful in the recent past?  Then if you look hard enough, you will probably find effective change leaders and managers throughout your organization!  You just have to find them.  They don’t necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy.

If the organization has not been successful for a long time then you have a challenge.  You will need to seek out the good, work with the less good and, if possible, make sure the organization imports some capable fresh blood and embeds and empowers the individuals quickly.  This change will require a very experienced change facilitator fully backed by the top team

To lead and manage  change, you need to bring together a group whose power comes from a variety of sources including; job title, status, expertise, political importance and, just sometimes, sheer force of personality, in other words, charisma!

How to put a group together in four (not always easy) steps:

  • Go out and find the true leaders and strong managers in your organization.
  • Ask for an emotional commitment from these key people – explain to them why you need the change..
  • Work on team building within your change coalition.
  • Check your team for weak areas  and ensure that you have a good mix of people from different departments and different levels within your company.

I would welcome your thoughts on this and, of course,  I am very happy to answer your questions

Related articles

  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – knowing what a sense of urgency really means!(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Bewildered by the change you have to make – here is help!(wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Paragons of virtue or the perfusion of good team leadership?

US Women's Soccer Team at 2003 World Cup

When choosing team members to complete tasks in your organization, what kind of people do you look for?

Yes I know Belbin says you should have;

  • One Co-ordinator or Shaper (not both) for leader
  • A Plant to stimulate ideas
  • A Monitor/evaluator to maintain honesty and clarity
  • • One or more Implementer, Team worker, Resource investigator or Completer/finisher to make things happen

So here we have a range of different personality types, let us make a second assumption – they are all technically competent. Now what else do you look for in your teams in real life?

Well, I like people I can count on to get things done; people who will do their share of the work and not find ways to off load it to others. Sound’s boring doesn’t it? But if I have an important project, reliable team members are invaluable.

I like to have people who will speak up and express their thoughts directly, but with respect for other team members.

And I would like them to have enough confidence to tell me, if we are getting something wrong as a team. Of course, I’d like them to have the discretion to tell me that bad news behind closed doors.

But I’d like us all to be able to listen, and to listen actively, as well as speaking up.

What I would give to find active engagement and people willing have ago at something new as well?

How about being able to recognise risk and knowing when to take it?

Of course I want the team to work cooperatively with each other and share the hard times as well as the good. If they can look beyond their own interests to those of the team, then we all win.

Well, have I found these paragons of virtue?

Oh yes, I have. I’ve seen them in action a number of times but not always working for me!

You see so much depends on the leader and the climate the leader creates!

There are many, many people who can do well in teams when they are well led.

They can flower and do things they never dreamed of!

All it takes is someone to create the climate in which they can thrive and someone who can share a vision in which they can believe.

So that means it’s down to you then really doesn’t it? It’s your team but can you turn them into winners?

I’d welcome the comments on what I’ve written above. Do you think I’m being too hard on leaders – have I set the bar too high? Are my expectations unrealistic? I’d love to have your views!

Related articles

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439