When a team is forming and is working out its group dynamics, it moves through predictable growth stages. In 1965, Bruce Tuckman, a well-known American psychologist and researcher, proposed a theory of group dynamics that describes the distinct phases of development: forming, storming, norming, and performing.
Team members exhibit characteristic behaviours in each stage. Each phase has unique highs lows as individuals assume their roles and come to a greater understanding of themselves and each other. A leader’s strong communication skills can help a team develop.
Each step towards the development of group dynamics has its own set of challenges which need to be faced before moving on to the next.
Here is an overview of the five steps of group development.
5 Steps of group development
Forming is the first step is establishing a team. It is the selection process and can also be one of the most crucial steps when looking for members. Individuals ask questions of one another in order to figure out if a select number of people would be beneficial to the group.
At this stage, members do not completely open up and behave with professionalism because they are looking for acceptance in the group. Very often the objective is not clear and each member is looking for clarity. Leadership is crucial at this stage as it helps members to sort out the objectives.
At this stage group members confront each other with ideas about how tasks need to be completed. Leadership is tested amongst each other in order to gain recognition of which individual possesses the aptitude to lead. Members attempt to look for a position that suits their identity.
Norming is a result of understanding each other’s need to complete the project. Members come to an agreement to move towards a common goal. At this point, the leader usually reassures each member’s position and creates a consensus amongst each other in order to keep on track.
At this stage, members realise their individual roles as well as group goals. The leader has directed well enough in order to allow members to become self-reliant so that they can complete the tasks required for the project to come together in its entirety.
Meetings become productive and individual work that is carried out afterwards is consistent with the goals as well as tasks assigned.
This is the final stage and is when the group comes together in order to celebrate the efforts of one another for finishing the project. Adhesive groups will always come together at the close-out of a project and congratulate each other for their efforts as each understands that parts of the project could not be completed without the other.
Group dynamics are vitally important in an organisation as well as a marketing team.
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