A team, especially one that is in a foodservice operation, has four distinct stages of group development. The four stages of group development were created by Dr. Bruce W. Tuckerman after observation of the different phases in the development and maturity of groups of people.
The first stage is forming. This is where teams are getting to know each other, as well as learning what will be required of them in order to achieve their assigned goal. This stage is defined by the way the team members approach each other and inspect the limitations of group behavior. The group is also evaluating the manager’s role and leadership. Throughout this stage, the manager takes a larger role in directing the progress of the team. Directing involves telling the group what specifically needs to be accomplished, establishing guidelines, and providing specifics on the five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and How. At this point, the team members are focusing on being part of a team.
– Excitement; Optimism; Pride in being selected; Wondering what role and influence they will have; Anxiety; Questioning why they and other team members were selected
– Friendly; Agreeable; Deciding how to accomplish tasks; Determining acceptable team behavior; Information gathering; Handling complaints about the organization; Discussing barriers to the task
The second stage is storming. At this point, the reality of the project sets in for the team and various interpersonal struggles begin to surface. Typically, this is the most difficult stage for any team to get through, since power clashes and competition between team members are common and are easily seen here. Besides this realization, team members become impatient with their lack of progress and rely more on individual approaches instead of teamwork. At this time, the manager needs to utilize a coaching style to clarify and explain tasks repeatedly. The manager will need to persuade team members often to work together and refocus their efforts.
– Resistance to approaches different from what the team is comfortable with; Swings in attitudes about the team and project; Questioning many aspects of the task
– Arguing; Choosing sides; Perceived “pecking order”; Increased tension; Jealousy; Power struggles; Lack of progress; Loss of interest
The third stage, norming, sees team member settling their differences and developing more cohesive and trusting relationships. The team realizes that they can work together and help each other achieve success. The members understand the team’s needs and accept the team ground rules and the roles that each person plays in achieving the project goals. Conflict decreases as these realizations occur and team members develop more confidence in their ability to work together and accomplish the task. At this time, the manager transitions into a leadership style of supporting the team by providing encouragement, listening more than telling, and promoting team discussions.
– Expressing constructive criticism; Membership acceptance; Relief that things are finally going smoothly; Understanding own contribution; Acceptance of membership
– Attempts for harmony; Avoiding conflict; Discussing team dynamics; Sense of common purpose; Establishing and monitoring team rules; Expressing ideas
At last but not least, the fourth and final stage is performing. This is where team interdependence is recognized. Team members can analyze and solve problems successfully together. They have accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can adapt to meet the needs of each member. The team becomes very productive and truly adds value to the organizations. At this point, the manager can use a delegating style. The manager no longer needs to provide much direction and can periodically monitor the team’s progress with update meetings.
– Insights into group processes; Understanding of each member’s strengths and weaknesses; Satisfaction with progress; Trusting; Friendly; Having fun
– Individual behavior modification; Working through team problems; Close attachment to members; Flexibility; Humor; Ownership of results