This book is structured in four sections as defined by Psychologist Bruce Tuckman in his article “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups” and these four stages are referred as –
Forming – In this stage the team members are brought together for achieving a certain goal for a team or the organisation. Some of the team members are more excited compared to others and some are more anxious about the new role for themselves and for the organisation. The most important milestone for a leader in this phase is to define the vision of the organisation and usually the leader role is dominant during this phase as the roles and responsibilities of each member are not very clearly defined.
Storming – Once the team is formed, the team moves into the storming phase. This is usually the phase where the leader must keep focus on the vision which is defined in the forming phase. Conflicts are one of the outcomes of the team discussions and are very natural to happen. Nothing wrong with the conflicts and as a leader we need to learn how to deal with these conflicts.
Interestingly some of the team members want to have hard boundaries as part of their roles and responsibilities however some of the team members show much more flexibility to pick up additional roles as per the organisation demands.
Norming – Gradually this is the stage where people start accepting each other and also start appreciating the value others are bringing to the common goal of the team. In modern day organisations, sometimes the HR tries to push the teams into this phase. However, I always believe the responsibility lies with the leader to push the team into the normalisation phase as early as possible.
Performing – The team reaches this phase pretty smoothly from the norming phase as there is more harmony and oneness within the team now. They are more focussed on the bigger objective of the team and start performing as a team. In this phase the leaders start looking at developing team members and most of the operational work is taken care of by the teams.
One of the important roles of a leader is to make sure the team remains into performing phase even under difficult circumstances like attritions, escalations and other disruptions.