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Running head: TEAM DEVELOPMENT
Teams are groups of people with the shared responsibility of achieving specific set
performance goals. The development of teams is a process which follows specific stages during
which growth and cohesion occur, as the team learns and becomes better suited to achieve its
objectives. During team development, the team leader plays a crucial role in building,
energizing, and leading the team as it moves through the stages. This process of development,
however, is not always successful, sometimes leading to dysfunctional teams instead, a situation
which the team leader can help resolve. This study paper discusses team development and the
role of the team leader in the process, including strategies to resolve the situation if the team
development process is unsuccessful leading to dysfunctional teams.
Stages of Team Development
The development of teams typically goes through five stages known as the Tuckman’s
stages according to Bruce Wayne Tuckman. These are the norming stage, storming stage,
forming stage, performing stage, and finally, the adjourning stage (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2009).
These stages begin when a team is set up or developed and follow its growth to its termination.
In the first stage, the forming stage, the team’s primary focus is goal definition and the
development of plans and procedures to carry out their mandate (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2009).
Having just met as a team, team members in this stage, get acquainted, identify and recognize
their leader, and establish team norms. It is at this stage where the team members learn of their
project or purpose of the team and determine how to work together as a team to fulfill it. This
stage is characterized by overdependence on the team leader for direction, uncertainty and
confusion over expectations, and cautious involvement.
The second stage through which teams develop is known as the storming stage. Having
met and established their purpose as a team, team members attempt to work together. This stage
is marred by tension, conflict, and hostility over team priorities, work, individual responsibility,
and directives from the team leader (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2009). The interpersonal relationship
between the team members in this stage is strained and competitive over individual member’s
roles, and responsibilities in the team leading to conflicts which if suppressed lead to a
dysfunctional team. To avoid dysfunction within the team in later stages, it is essential that
develop ways of dealing with conflicts in this stage.
After the storming stage, teams move to the norming stage during which the team
members lay down rules under which the team operates. The behavior observed in the previous
stage evolves into tolerance and acceptance of different opinions, compromise in decision
making for the team’s benefit, and free expression. Such developments often breed cohesion,
cooperation and collective responsibility (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2009).
The team fulfills its purpose for development in the performance stage. In this stage,
individual members of the team perform their previously allocated responsibilities and work
together with other members to fulfill their mandate. Learning and development is constant along
all stages, this one not an exception (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2009).
Finally, the team terminates its engagement at the adjournment stage after completing the
project for which it was developed (Hellriegel 7 Slocum, 2009). For teams built for a specific
purpose such as problem-solving teams whose responsibility ends after providing the solution for
a specific problem, this stage marks the end of the team’s engagement. Other teams such as
functional teams, however, lack a specific adjourning stage.
The functionality of a team or lack thereof, determined through a team assessment,
determines whether or not it achieves its set objective. Well-functioning teams whose features
include clarity, mutual trust, and empowerment of all team members successfully carry out their
mandate. Dysfunctional teams, on the other hand, fail to perform as expected, hardly achieving
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professionals, Thomas, Mclntosh, and Mensic identify five causes of dysfunctio...