5 Phases in group development

May 5, 2016 — Leave a comment

Anyone who has ever worked in a team, will testify to the fact that although team members may stay the same, team dynamics will always change.

Bruce Tuckman actually identified this phenomenon already back in 1965, and it has since become known as “Tuckman’s 5 phase group development model“. According to Tuckman the 5 phases that are inevitable for a team to go through, are:

  • Forming: Team members get acquainted with each other.
  • Storming: Role definition and expectations are worked out
  • Norming: Clear expectations, consensus and responsibility takes form.
  • Performing: Focus and goal achievement
  • Adjourning/Reforming: Task completion.

If one would portray it visually, it would look something like this:


So, what concerns me is the part that comes after “Reforming“. The performance curve can either drop or raise at this point. And this is why the reforming phase is such an important phase.

I find myself in precisely in that phase right now. I joined a congregation – and hence new team – in 2014. Once the “forming” phase and role definition was done, the “norming” and “performing” started. We have enjoyed several successes in a relatively short period of time.

But our one colleague – and as luck would have it, our team leader – retires this year. This means the role definition of the entire team changes once again. What’s more, is that we relied heavily on his wisdom. We will surely feel his absence.

But now the fate of the curve, rests squarely on our shoulders. The science of group dynamics says that it is impossible to stay unchanged on the plateau. The curve will either drop or raise.

This is a sober, terrifying and humbling awareness. As colleagues we need to reform and “re-invent” our team in order to raise the curve. That’s a tall order. I trust that the Lord will guide us in our endeavors. I am unashamedly and utterly dependent upon Him. Your prayers will be much appreciated.



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