Dec 15th, 2021

Group Dynamics

Part 3: Norming & Performing

  Written by: Shane Oswald, Director of Delivery

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In my previous posts, I touched on the challenges teams face during the forming and storming stages. Ultimately, the goal for any team is to get through those first two stages as quickly as possible to reach the norming and performing stages.

The lines between the norming and performing stages can be a bit blurry. During the norming stage, teams figure out how to work together. Processes have been practiced and are well established. Internal team conflicts have been discussed and addressed. Roles within the team have been fulfilled and embraced. Everyone takes ownership over their commitments and the team mentality is adopted. As a result of all these shifts in team dynamics, the team becomes more effective and efficient. This leads us into the performing stage. Teams may increase their velocity because of the improvements they have implemented and efficiencies they have gained through their experience and perseverance through the previous 3 stages. There aren’t many new surprising or unforeseen challenges that arise. If there is a new challenge thrown at the team, they have the experience to know how to handle it and they are comfortable relying on their teammates for help. At this point, team performance becomes predictable.

One interesting thing happens during the performing stage. The leaders that emerged during the forming and storming stage find that their leadership is not needed as much due to the team becoming self-sufficient. They may find it hard to recognize their role or their worth on the team. It’s at that point where strong organizations can elevate those leaders into new positions or provide new challenges or opportunities for them to face.

Each group will face some version of the forming, storming, norming, and performing stages. The important thing is to acknowledge that each of these phases are normal, necessary, and take time. Understanding and recognizing the characteristics and dynamics of each stage will help the team progress through them quicker and more efficiently.

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