Teams go through distinct stages of development. In this instalment, we shall discuss the characteristics of the team in each of those stages. We will then focus on the requisite leadership skills and interventions are needed at each stage to mitigate against systemic failures that can make the team unproductive and relationships toxic.
In 1965, a psychologist named Bruce Tuckman coined the “forming, storming, norming and performing” phrase. This phrase has been adopted to describe the evolution path that teams go through. Later in his research around 1975, Tuckman added a fifth stage, the adjourning stage.
We will discuss Tuckman’s team stages in conjunction with Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership model, to highlight the systemic leadership interventions that are required at particular team development stages.
Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model
Leaders are generally tasked with putting a team together and managing the people dynamics. This may be when a new project is begun or when a new team is being created, to revive a dormant team or to expand an existing one.
In the beginning, ie forming stage, it is all hugs and kisses among team members. The task is largely about welcoming members to the team, with politeness and courtesy being the order of the day.
At this stage, team members are anxious, as they would not have worked the finer details of what exactly the work required