Third of a four part series reviewing Stages of Group Development.
Finally, relief from the conflict-ridden Storming stage. Now, onto the third stage characterized by agreement. Agreement sounds restful, but just like any of the other phases, the leader must stay vigilant. Bruce Tuckman suggests there are five stages of Group Development. The third stage is called Norming, which occurs when:
The team establishes its values for how individuals will interact and collaborate. ~ Boundless.com
Group members in this stage unite like chess pieces at the beginning of a game, facing down the opposition. Each individual is aware of his or her role and willing to participate as needed. Again, let’s focus on the good, the bad, and the leader of this stage:
- THE GOOD: The team is now unified with common goals and acceptance. Team members have clarity on roles, both as individual contributors and as a group. The team is cooperating and in agreement about expected processes, duties, and deadlines. Group strengths now yield increased productivity.
- THE BAD: Unfortunately, the team progressing through the Norming stage tends to get comfortable. The group may become too tolerant and content. Most surprisingly, this team may return to the Storming stage, since it is not prepared to respond to potential changes or new responsibilities.
- THE LEADER: Things are going so well in this stage that the leader may even start daydreaming about an awards ceremony! The role of leadership can now be shared with others on the team. The leader welcomes input as he or she guides the group through new tasks. The team has the opportunity to reevaluate processes and refine team goals.
It is tempting to get too comfortable in the Norming stage. The team will need guidance in order to adapt to developing changes. An adept leader will quickly address any behaviors characteristic of the Storming stage. Otherwise, this is a good time for reviewing or improving processes and expectations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.