Team Leadership Guide

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motivate / manage change / team performance


  Definition of a Team 

A team is a group of people who share responsibility for achieving specific performance goals. Teams are defined by the following characteristics:

§  They are small groups of people with common or complementary skills,

§  They are committed to a common purpose,

§  They cooperate with each other based on an agreed set of expectations,

§  They hold themselves accountable.

Stages of Team Development*

As teams evolve, they exhibit different characteristics based on their needs and interpersonal relationships.  Although teams grow in stops and starts, researchers generally agree that most teams move in and out of four stages of development:

Stage One: Forming.  In this stage team members are just getting used to the idea that they are a team.  It is period of  cautious involvement.  This is a time of questions about purpose, behavior, expectations, needs, problems, and indicators of success.

 Stage Two: Storming.  In this stage team members test one another.  They make mistakes as they learn to work together.  This can be a stage of defensiveness, tension, jealousy, argumentation, etc.  This is a time when the leader must resolve issues, sooth egos, bargain compromises, negotiate squabbles, and delegate responsibilities.

Stage Three: Norming.  In this stage the team members begin to understand and abide by the team’s ground rules.  At this point, team members feel more comfortable with their roles and responsibilities.  All in all, cooperation overtakes defensiveness within the team.

Stage Four: Performing.  In this stage the road to success becomes clearer.  Vehicles for problem solving, conflict resolution, and idea sharing are in full gear and teams are working as a unit to accomplish performance goals.

*Bruce W. Tuckman, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups,” Psychological Bulletin 63, no.6 (1965), pp 334-99.