First of a four part series reviewing Stages of Group Development.
And so it begins– a new team takes shape. Introductions are made with handshakes across a boardroom table. Nervous conversations begin and a few business cards are exchanged. It is an exciting and anxious time, full of possibility. Bruce Tuckman suggests there are five stages of Group Development. The first stage is called Forming, which occurs when:
The team discusses its purpose, defines and assigns tasks, establishes timelines, and begins forming personal relationships. ~ Boundless.com
During this time you may feel like you’ve entered into a life-size strategy game requiring timing and patience. As we review each stage, we will focus on the good, the bad, and the leader:
- THE GOOD: In the Forming stage, team members are polite. Each careful to listen and learn with a sense of discovery. High-level goal setting is easy (especially since the group doesn’t have the distraction of really good data). Conversations are hopeful.
- THE BAD: The Forming stage offers a few negative experiences for team members. Anxiety is masked as much as possible but prevails. Members tend to be selfish and work independently. Often, processes are ignored (or unknown). Output or productivity of the team is low, as is agreement.
- THE LEADER: While a new team is forming, the leader tends to be very involved, providing guidance and answering questions. At the beginning, the team needs leaders to provide clarity on direction, goals, structure, and roles. This usually means he or she often works late, but still has time to brag about the recent promotion or dream about the next promotion.
The Forming stage is characterized by a lot of missing information. The great challenge for the leader is to provide strong and sound direction without having all of the answers. Demonstrating confidence in emerging structures and processes is key! The group dynamics are forming and this is only the beginning. (Note the similarities to an individual who is being onboarded, read Onboarding Saves a Fortune.)
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman, an Executive Business Consultant with Leading Synergies, helps high-performing executives refine strategy, inspire teams, and delight clients (specializing in information technology, project management, consulting, and franchise management). She also leads Synergy Groups, weekly 55-minute case study conference calls for REALLY BUSY Christians in leadership. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 20 years.|