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The 5 Key Stages of Team Development | Modig Leadership

If you’re like most entrepreneurs or executive leaders, you’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to grow your business. But what about your team? Are they progressing at the same rate as your company? 

According to research from The Harvard Business Review, most teams go through five key stages of development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

Knowing where your team is in their development can help you take the necessary steps to ensure they are ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead. So how can you tell which stage your team is in? Let’s take a look at each stage:

Forming is the stage of team development when members are getting to know each other and trying to figure out the best way to work together. This is usually a time of high energy and excitement, as team members explore their new roles and responsibilities. However, it can also be a time of confusion and conflict, as team members vie for leadership roles and decide how to divide up the work. Ultimately, the goal of forming is to establish a common purpose and direction for the team. To do this, leaders need to clearly communicate the team’s goals and objectives, and team members need to trust and respect each other. Once the team has established a foundation of trust and cooperation, it can begin to achieve its true potential.

Trust in each other, and the shared goal of achieving more than what was done before is not an easy thing for any group or individual member to do in some cases; but when you have that kind of deep connection between everyone involved, it can take everything from a performance level up by storm!  That’s why we make sure our clients are always protected during this process at Modig Leadership– because without strong foundations beneath them (trust), nothing will really get moving outside those walls. Without it, your work will come undone and progress grinds to a halt! This approach at Modig Leadership ensures that we build bridges of understanding between team members with diverse backgrounds so they can collaborate more effectively towards company goals and thus improving productivity and profitability.  

When moving into the next phase, storming, team members start to clash over different ideas and ways of doing things. This is a normal part of the team development process, and it can actually be a good thing. It’s an opportunity for team members to air their grievances and for leadership to emerge. However, if storming isn’t managed properly, it can lead to serious problems within the team. That’s why it’s important for leaders to be aware of the signs of storming and to know how to deal with it effectively. By doing so, they can help their team members resolve their differences and move on to the next stage of development.

When a team starts to gel together, there is often a period of adjustment as members get to know one another and figure out how best to work together. This process is known as norming, and it’s an essential part of creating a cohesive team. During norming, leaders emerge and start to set the tone for how the team will operate; establishing a rhythm within the team. Members start to develop trust and respect for one another, and they begin to feel more comfortable speaking up and offering ideas. The team starts to come together and agree on how they work best together. Norming is a vital part of team development, and it’s essential for leadership to encourage and facilitate this process. By creating an environment where members feel comfortable communicating and working together, leaders can help their team reach its full potential.  

What many people don’t realize is that their team’s communication skills can have an immense impact on the company as a whole. A lack of good relationships among coworkers leads to lower productivity and employee retention rates, which ultimately hurts business profitability in countless ways!  We here at Modig Leadership really focus our efforts towards fostering healthy collaborative partnerships within every department so we’re leaving nothing behind when it comes down to making sure your workplace runs smoothly, and thus increasing your profitability. 

Performing teams are those that are laser-focused on achieving their goals. They work effectively and efficiently towards their objectives, and they have a clear leadership structure in place. Leaders of performing teams are able to get the best out of their team members, and they create an environment where everyone is working towards the same goal. As a result, performing teams are able to achieve great things. 

If your team is not performing at its best, it may be time to take a closer look at your leadership style and the dynamics within your organization. Are you creating an environment where everyone can thrive? Are you setting clear goals and expectations? If not, it may be time to make some changes so that you can help your team operate at its peak potential.  Oftentimes you can’t see the forest through the trees, so that’s why organizations bring us in to evaluate the gaps within their team’s and get you pointed in the better direction faster. 

Adjourning is the formal term for when a team completes its task or reaches its end-goal, and members go their separate ways. While adjourning is often seen as the end of a project, it can also be seen as an opportunity for leadership. Leaders who are able to effectively adjourn a team are able to recognize when the team has achieved its objectives. In addition, leaders who are able to adjourn a team are also able to maintain relationships with team members after the project has ended. For these reasons, adjourning is an important leadership skill, ensuring you don’t burn any bridges and can come back to your team in the future if needed. 

To summarize, the first stage is forming, where the team comes together and starts to figure out who they are and what they can do. This is followed by storming, when the team begins to clash over ideas and work styles. After that comes norming, when the team finally settles on a way of working together. Next is performing, where the team does its best work. And finally, adjourning, when the team disbands or moves on to new challenges. 

So, what stage is your team in? Knowing where your team is at can help you course correct and expand your team’s growth if necessary.  Remember, teams go through different stages of development as they grow and change, so it’s wise to evaluate the progress of your team regularly.  

If you want your team to reach their full potential, reach out to Modig Leadership at so that we can help you understand these stages and how to help your team move through them.