Tuckman’s method explains that as a workplace team develops its maturity and ability; relationships establish and the leader changes leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached.
Forming: The first step on the ladder, this step sets out the ground rules within the team. Team members tend to behave independently and although willingness may exist they do not know each other well enough to entirely trust one another. The team leader should ensure that space and time is given to allow team members to build new relationships with each other. The team members should be given lots of direction and encouraged to ask questions and communicate.
Storming: The team members start to communicate and address the tasks at hand, often offering up or suggesting ideas. Team members with different ideas may compete for power and control and if badly managed this phase can be very destructive for the team. Relationships between team members will be made or broken in this phase and some may never recover. In extreme cases the team can become stuck in the Storming phase. It is the responsibility of the team leader to encourage the team to focus on the objectives at hand, whilst remaining diplomatic in their decision making. The team leader may have to reinforce the roles and responsibilities of the team.
Norming: As the team moves out of the Storming phase they will enter the Norming phase. This tends to be a move towards a more harmonious working environment; with teams agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate. In an ideal situation the team will begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the commitment of each member to the team. Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility. The team leaders can delegate, specific tasks based on the skills and roles of the team members. The team leader will often encourage social activities outside of the work place.
Performing: In the performing stage, team members are confident, motivated and familiar enough with their roles and their team mates that they can operate without supervision. Everyone is on the same page and striving towards the final goal. Team leaders will encourage their team by confirming their skills and building new ones through further training. A team leader will no longer give instructions but will provide criteria and standards.
Adjourning: In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage called adjourning. Once a project ends, the team disbands. This phase is sometimes known as mourning because members have grown close and feels a loss now that the experience is over.