The month of May!

It’s Worker’s Day, the public in South Africa is making their voices heard on the 8th and it’s the beginning of winter down in the Southern Hemisphere.

This month is a great reminder to us as employers to focus again on what makes our business work. And that is our employees. The workers. In 1965, the psychologist Bruce Tuckman said that teams go through 5 stages of development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.


Forming is like a first date… Well, almost! Remember your first day in school or college? For someone starting a new job, is exactly the same. They are joining a new team. They were just introduced and it would seem that everyone is overly polite and pleasant, yet fairly unknown to each other, and so there is a matter of uncertainty to be found amongst the members of the team. Everyone is putting their best foot forward. What is important at the start is to discuss the members’ skills, backgrounds and interests. The project goals, individual roles and setting some ground rules. This is not a very productive stage yet, as this stage focuses on the people, more than the work


Reality kicks in during the Storming stage when the initial feelings of excitement and the need to be polite wear off. Personalities may clash. However, it is important to remember that most teams experience conflict. If you are the leader, remind your team that disagreements are normal. During this time, it may be good to focus on different communication skills by different personalities and to not avoid conflict at all costs, as this tends the problem to stew until it explodes.


At last! Some normalcy returns during the norming phase. Groups start settling down, everyone is working together and there’s an understanding amongst the colleagues. And yes! You still think that the receptionist has weird taste in music, but you acknowledge her skill in negotiating around difficult clients and value the speed of execution in which she drafts up documents.


Things are moving along like clockwork. All the cogs in the wheel are turning nicely. Customers are happy, your workforce is confident, motivated and familiar enough with the project and their team. No more supervision is required. If your team doesn’t resolve conflict during the storming stage, this stage will never be achieved and the team will fail.Adjourning

This stage was added by Tuckman in 1977, and this happens at the end of a project when a team disbands, or when someone leaves your employment. This is also known as the mourning stage as members have grown close. Stage performers experience this as “performance blues”

Understanding the 5 stages of Team Development will help you to reach your targets and goals and allow your team to perform better.