xi) Four Stages in Developing a Team


1 Orientation

2 Dissatisfaction

3 Resolution

4 Production

Each stage is part of a journey.

Stage I ‐ Orientation

Characteristics of Stage 1

. Feeling moderately eager with high expectations

. Feeling some anxiety

. Asking questions such as

- Where do I fit?

- What is expected of me?

- What are the rules and expectations?

- Can I trust these people in the team?

- How are decisions made?

- Is it safe to say what I think?

. Testing the situation and central figures

. Depending on authority and hierarchy

. Needing to find a place and establish oneself

(In its first meeting, the group needs to be clear on its mission, goal and responsibilities)

This stage is like 2 dogs meeting for the first time

Normally, productivity is low but morale is high.

Stage 2 ‐ Dissatisfaction

Characteristics of Stage 2

. Experiencing a discrepancy between hope and reality

. Feeling dissatisfied with dependence on authority

. Feeling frustrated: angry about goals, tasks and action plans

. Feeling incompetent and confused on issues such as

- What is expected?

- How are we to go about our job?

. Reacting negatively towards leaders and other members

. Competing for power and/or attention

. Experiencing polarities: dependence/independence

. Experiencing conflict

(NB This is a critical stage when the team can either fall apart or lay the foundation for creativity and valuing differences, and people should be encouraged to express their frustration and confusion)

Honeymoon is over and expectations are lowered

Stage 3 ‐ Resolution

Characteristics of Stage 3

. Decreasing dissatisfaction

. Resolving discrepancies between expectations and reality

. Resolving polarity and animosities

. Developing harmony, trust, support, co-operation and respect

. Developing co-operation, self-esteem, cohesiveness and confidence

. Being more open and giving more feedback

. Sharing responsibility and control

. Using team language

. Team starting to run itself

The group is learning to work together; facilitation, more than direction, is the manager's role.

Stage 4 ‐ Production

Characteristics of Stage 4

. Feeling excited about participating in team activities

. Working collaboratively and independently with whole and sub-groups

. Feeling team strength and commitment to each other and the team's goals

. Showing high confidence in accomplishing tasks

. Sharing leadership

. Feeling positive about the team's successes

. Performing at high levels

. Strong team identity and confidence in team's ability

Both productivity and morale is high, with the team functioning smoothly towards accomplishing well-defined tasks that everyone agrees on. Leaders adopt a more supportive role.

. Another way of describing the different stages in team development is forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. This phase-development model has been criticised as it does not take into account the background and situational context in which a group of people comes together; and it has limited application beyond male Caucasians as the research conducted in developing the concept excluded women and members of minority groups. For example, the storming phase of males establishing boundaries that define power and identity are not the driving forces for women

"...who can more easily establish connections and relationships without the need for ego-boosting, pecking-order confrontations..."

Harry Onsman, 2005a

(sources: Kenneth Blanchard et al, 1986: Robert Kriegel et al, 1996; Harry Onsman, 2005a)

Matching Leadership Styles to Stages of Team Development

organisational development change management

(source: Kenneth Blanchard et al, 1986)


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