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The Healthy Growth Of A Team: The Stages Of Development

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The Stages Of Development

The first four stages of the team's growth were initially developed by Bruce Wayne Tuckman and published in 1965. His theory entitled "Tuckman's Stages" was based on research on group dynamics. He believed (as is now a common belief) that these phases were inevitable for a team to grow to the point where they could work together effectively and deliver high-quality results. In 1977 Tuckman, in collaboration with Mary Ann Jensen, added a fifth stage to the previous four levels.

B-Skilled: Sports and Performance Psychology Healthy Team Growth: The stages of development Tuckman team coaching team building team development team storming sports psychology performance performing norming phases of conflict growth  

The five stages of team development in sport are:
  • Step 1: Forming
  • Step 2: Storming
  • Step 3: Norming
  • Step 4: Performing
  • Step 5: Adjourning
This article provides an overview of each of the five stages of team development in sports.

Step 1: Forming

The "training" phase takes place when the team meets for the first time. Team members know each other, share information about their backgrounds, interests, and experiences, and form each other's first impressions. They learn the plans for the following year, discuss goals, and start thinking about what role they can play in the team. This phase occurs whenever a team "forms" for the first time, for example at the beginning of the season. Even in established themes, this phase can occur when new athletes are introduced or changes are made within the team.

Step 2: Storming

As the team starts working, training, playing, and competing together move into the "storming" phase. This stage is not avoidable; every team, especially a new team that has never worked together, goes through this part of the development. At this stage, team members challenge each other for status and acceptance of their ideas. They have different opinions about what should be done and how it should be done, which often causes conflicts within the team. As they progress through this phase, with the guidance of the Coach, team leader, or sports psychologist, they learn how to solve problems together, function as a team, establish roles and responsibilities in the team. For team members who don't like conflict, this is a difficult phase to deal with. At this stage, the team is called to develop self-awareness and its inner workings.

Team members must learn to listen to each other and respect other people's differences and ideas. This stadium closes when the team accepts more and learns to work together for the good of the team. It means valuing diversity and getting to the position of knowing that the team needs all the different types of personality and behavioral styles to succeed.

Step 3: Norming

When the team enters the "regulation" phase, they begin to be more effective as a team, and performance also begins to improve. They are no longer focused on their individual goals, but rather are focused on developing a way of working together for the best results of the team. They respect their opinions and assess their differences. They begin to see practical value in those who are different in the team and want to be the best athletes for their team.

At this stage, the team agreed on their team's rules to work together, how they communicate and resolve team conflicts, and what tools and processes they use to achieve results. Team members start trusting each other and actively looking for each other. Rather than competing against each other, they are now helping each other to work towards a common team goal. Team members also begin to make significant progress as a team.

Some indicators tell us that the team is moving well through the stages of healthy growth, for example:
  • There is more communication between all members
  • Regular brainstorming sessions are held with all participating members
  • The team is committed to looking for strategies to solve problems
  • There is a greater commitment to the team's goals and other team members
  • You create positive and supportive relationships between all team members
These signals are in contrast to those initially detected, such as:
  • Lack of communication between team members
  • Unclear roles, responsibilities, and expectations within the team
  • Lack of concern about the quality of its work
  • Team members work alone, rarely share information, and offer assistance to others
  • Athletes blame others for what goes wrong, no one accepts responsibility
  • Members do not support other team members
  • Athletes are often absent or live with superficiality the moments of training
Step 4: Performing

In the "performing" phase, teams are operating at a very high level. Team members know each other, trust each other. Performance can be measured by team morale and real-world performance on the team's field. That is, they are reaching their performance stats or simply, they are winning and feel good about being part of this team. The team is strongly motivated to get the job done with the best results. They can make decisions and solve problems quickly and effectively. When they disagree, team members can work on it and reach consensus without interrupting progress. If change is needed, the team will agree on changing processes on its own without relying on the Coach and team leader.

Step 5: Adjourning

The final stage occurs when the team is disbanding at the end of a competition season or the project the team was working on is completed. For a high-performing team, the end of a season or project brings feelings of sadness as team members who had become a part of the same organism. It is an important opportunity to complete a review of what has been achieved and how it can be further improved for the future.

Summary of team development phases in sport

B-Skilled: Sports and Performance Psychology Healthy Team Growth: The phases of development Tuckman team coaching team building team development team storming sports psychology performance performing norming phases of conflict growth It is important to remember that each team – sporty or not – will follow these stages of team development and it is important that no stage is skipped or underestimated. It is up to the Coach and/or sports psychologist to help the team go through these phases to get them to the point where they can work as effectively as possible towards a common goal.

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