5 Stages of Team Process

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Team building is a critical part of team chemistry and cohesion. But how do you successfully facilitate team building? Team leaders will cross their fingers and schedule a fun activity in an attempt to spark team chemistry. Sometimes, this is appropriate. Other times it’s not and can actually do more harm than good. It all depends on the stage the team process is in. There are 5 stages of team process.

  1. Forming Stage: The team is starting to form. Whenever there is a new team member or a change in role-responsibility, the team is in the formation stage of team process. This stage is accompanied by feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and longing for acceptance.
  2. Storming Stage: The team faces conflict. Whenever there is confrontation or questioning of the rules and reward system, the team is in the storming stage of team process. Competitiveness and frustration make up this stage.
  3. Norming Stage: The team members learn to trust each other. When the team members believe in the system and depend on each other, they are in the norming stage of team process. There is a strong sense of belonging and contribution to something bigger than the individual in this stage.
  4. Performing Stage: The team accomplishes their goals. During this stage, the team gets into a groove and is highly productive. Anxiety, uncertainty, and longing for acceptance are no longer present and team members successfully adapt to challenges.
  5. Adjourning Stage: The team terminates. It’s the end of a season, project, or a team member has left. There is a major change that leads to conclusion of the team. There is a sense of reflection.

A fun activity would be great during the formation stage of a team. But the same activity could act as a cheap band-aid during the storming stage. It’s important to know what stage your team is in before planning your team building activities.

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