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The stages of team development

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The stages of team development

Team effectiveness is enhanced by a team’s continuous commitment to reflection and ongoing evaluation. In addition to evaluating their accomplishments in meeting specific goals; it is essential for them to understand their development as a team. In a childcare setting a team will go through different stages of development. The first four stages were developed by Bruce Wayne Tuckman (Tuckman’s stages) “these are in order for a team to grow to the point where they are functioning effectively and delivering high qualities’. Later a fifth stage was added along with Mary Ann Jensen for when the team is completing the current project.

How fast each team moves through the stages depends on the team members and their individual skills, the work they are expected to do and the type of leadership available to the team. These stages of team development include the following:

  1. Forming – At the initial stage of forming; individuals are getting to know each other; therefore they will be unsure of each other and their roles and responsibilities within the team, in which case the team leader will give guidance and support; in order to keep a cohesive team.
  2. Storming – This is the most important stage as different members of the team get to know each other. Challenges will start to arise such as personality clashes, differences of opinion and maybe some uncomfortable atmosphere between them. The blame could easily be put onto the team leader or manager as an easy way out, as their position is perceived as being different from the rest of the team.
  3. Norming – At this stage the team begins to find their feet and have a sense of direction. The ideas which have been given in the storming stage start to come together in which case you can move away from this stage to have more of a cordial affair. If this stage is allowed to develop then the team will start to feel more positive.
  4. Performing – In this stage each team member start to apply themselves to the job and complete the task at hand. As they now know each other quite well they will take on different roles and responsibilities.
  5. Mourning/Adjourning – This stage was added later when a team comes to an end. If a team member is about to leave the setting or if a new member joins you are likely to go through a stage of mourning, looking forward to the future and the challenges it may hold. At this stage you may experience some negativity amongst the team members as a way of coping and feeling better about them leaving.

Every team; regardless of what they are working on; will follow the stages of team development described above. It is the job of the team leader to help see the team through these stages to bring them to the point where they are working as effectively as possible toward a common goal.

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