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Stages Of A Team or Group Development


Bruce Tuckman, a psychologist, developed the characteristics of groups in 1965 and named them: forming, storming, norming, and performing. It describes the path that most teams follow. 

Here is more detail about each phase: 


Team members are eager and relatively uninformed in this stage. Usually very positive and polite with one another, they are learning about the goals or the task and each of their roles. 

They often work more independently and are more focused on themselves in this stage. To move them along, it is the leader's role to get the out of this thinking and to work more cohesively. 

And to get out of this stage, each team member must be open to change and letting go of control. 


Team members are getting uncomfortable and are pushing boundaries and questioning the validity of tasks. The conflict often comes from differing working styles. It can also come from teammembers lack of clarity around their roles or authority. And it can even come from team members trying to de-throne those in charge.

Some teams skip this stage completely because they naturally work well together. 

This is the stage where many teams fail. Disagreements and personality clashes must be resolved before the team can progress out of this stage, and some teams never emerge from "storming". And if they get through it, some teams re-enter it if new challenges or disputes arise

All teams experience conflict. It is the leaders job to make sure it doesn't elevate to a storm. They need to remind teams that conflict is a way of getting to clarity. Leaders also need to give more guidance and direction to get the team through this phase. 


A spririt of cooperation is what characterizes this stage. People are able to resolve their diffences with each other and appreaciate each of their strengths and weaknesses. They can give each other constructive feedback and are able to help one another. 

Their is a strong commitment to the overall team goal and individual needs are set aside. The leader has earned their authority by this stage also. 


The hallmark of this stage is that the team members are able to handle decision-making and accomplish tasks without the leaders supervision. When there is conflict it is handled easily amongst the team. 

They are also well on their way to acheiving their goals or the task they needed to accomplish. 


Even the most high-performing teams will go back to earlier stages or go through these cycles many times as they react to changing external environments. 

Adjourning or Mourning: 

In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage that involves completing the task and breaking up the team. 

Many teams will reach this stage eventually. Project teams exist until the project is complete and permanent teams may be disbanded through organizational restructuring.

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