You should not expect your team to function as a well-oiled machine from the start. Teams go through stages as they learn to work together, an understanding of the growth patterns of a typical team will help you implement best practices to help them achieve. “Tuckerman’s Stages” summarizes the research he did on team dynamics. This team research is a classic model of understanding. The five stages Tuckerman identified are called forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
In this blog post, we’ll walk through each stage so you can recognize it in your own teams and teach as it happens.
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Stage 1: Forming
In the forming stage, team members are introduced, and they share information about themselves and form first impressions about each other. They learn about the project they will be working on, discuss objectives and goals and start to think about what role they will play on the team. As the team leader, this stage provides you an opportunity to be very clear about your goals and provide direction about the work the team will do. You can help the team determine roles and responsibilities and guide initial interactions and preparations.
Stage 2: Storming
The second stage, storming, is an unavoidable transitional stage as team members begin to work together. Team members may compete with each other and varying opinions may cause conflict within the team. The team leader’s guidance is still important in this stage – you can help your hires solve problems, stick to roles and remind them how to function independently and as a team. Your leadership in this stage can also help team members remain respectful and ensure that all voices are heard. As the team becomes more accepting of their own and recognizes the value of individual contributions, your involvement can lessen. Keep in mind that if you have younger team members or professionally immature hires, this stage can last longer.
Stage 3: Norming
In the norming stage, team members begin to work more effectively together. Individual goals are left behind for the good of the project. Each team member’s ideas should be heard and valued. As roles are accepted and plans are implemented, working together feels more natural. Minor conflicts can be resolved and team members seek out each other’s opinions. The work gets done and the project moves forward, without as much participation from you.
Stage 4: Performing
In the performing stage, teams are functioning at a very high level. The focus is on collaboration to reach the team goal. Team members trust each other. As a team leader, your goal is to help your team get to the performing stage, a key plateau for a high functioning team. Teams in this stage can make decisions together and solve conflicts easily and effectively. The team will be able to agree on changing processes if needed and won’t need to rely on the team leader for day-to-day work. As the team leader, you’ll continue to monitor productivity and team functionality, spotting breaks in the workflow if someone starts to work independently or if a new member joins the team.
Stage 5: Adjourning
In the adjourning stage the project goal comes to an end and the cycle gets ready to start with new goals and maybe new people. Your team members may move on to new projects together or with different team members. This stage is an opportunity for you as the team leader to evaluate the team as you move into new collaborative stages. Review lessons learned as a way to introduce new projects and contribute to organizational growth. This stage also provides an opportunity to celebrate the team’s success.
Managing a team comes more intuitively to some than to others. To reach your goals and avoid problems, take management seriously and understand that what you do as team leader sets the tone for productivity and success. And to learn more about how to effectively and efficiently manage your real estate team in 2019 and beyond, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU today and start with our Team Building track!