So by now we understand what makes a group, how interpersonal relationships work, and the ways different leadership styles affect groups. But how can team building exercises help improve these components of teamwork? The final step in this journey of understanding the psychology of teamwork is figuring out what takes task groups from being a loose collection of coworkers to a strong and effective team. Let’s first look at the life cycle of a team.
The concept of a team “life cycle” has been around since the 1950s, and has become somewhat standardized into 5 separate stages. These stages of the formation of a team are as follows: forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming.2
Forming is a pretty easy stage to understand. Teams come together at this stage and begin to figure out how they fit into the group. During this stage it’s important for those in leadership positions to encourage team members to get to know each other. Ice breaker games, or other methods of cultivating familiarity between colleagues will be especially effective at this stage.
The next phase, storming, is when conflict tends to arise within a team. Team members are beginning to get comfortable with their roles in the team, and may begin to push back in one way or another. There may also be personality conflicts between team members that will arise at this stage. MBTI training or opening paths of communication may help significantly at this juncture.
Storming can overlap with the next phase in the cycle, norming1. During the norming stage, teams begin to hit their stride. Team members may begin to explore social connections outside of the professional environment. It’s not unusual, however, for a new conflict to arise that brings the team back into the storming phase. This stage is an ideal time to encourage socialization with a teambuilding activity like a scavenger hunt or other interactive entertainment. Teams will benefit from the strengthening of the social bonds already in progress, as well as practicing communication in a more relaxed environment.
The performing stage is when everything within the team is working exactly as needed. Team members are working well together, and everyone clearly understands their roles and are working towards the team’s goals with efficiency and enthusiasm. Interpersonal relationships between the team members are strong, and everyone is comfortable with the role of their team leader. During this stage, teams can still benefit from having their bonds reinforced, which makes it a perfect opportunity to give back to their communities. Doing charity work together will help reinforce the feelings of camaraderie and good will among the team members.
The final stage, transforming, can occur for several different reasons. For example, a team may complete a task or reach a goal they have been working towards. This can require changes in roles within the team, or perhaps the transformation of the team into something all together different. Some teams dissolve at this stage, while others reorganize and begin working on a different project. Another thing that can prompt the transforming stage within a group are changes within the make up of the group. Team members may leave or join, changing rolls within the group. The shift in group dynamics may be dramatic enough to push a team back to the forming stage, at which time the cycle starts over again.
Understanding these different stages of the life cycle of a team can help us understand why team building experiences are as effective as they are. Studies have been done on the subject, and the findings all point towards the effectiveness of team building.
“Our findings are encouraging—team building improves team outcomes; that these team-development interventions are beneficial to team functioning is the good news.”3
This study also stresses the importance of understanding exactly what kind of team building a team needs, as certain styles may be more effective based on the desired outcome.
Luckily, here at TeamBonding, we are happy to help potential clients address their specific needs to achieve a desired outcome. We truly believe that team building is the key to a successful, well performing workplace. Contact one of our sales reps to learn more about how we can help you succeed in the future!
2. Nazzaro, Ann-Marie, and Joyce Strazzabosco. Group dynamics and team building. DEVELOPMENT 4 (2009).
3. Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C. S., Lyons, R., & Goodwin, G. F. (2009). Does team building work?. Small Group Research.
Imagine if you will, that it’s 2006 again. The housing bubble has just burst, and the US economy is teetering on the brink of what will end up being the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. People are scared for the futures of their companies, and are cutting corners at every possible turn. No one is very eager to spend money on team building.
The workplace can be stressful at times and it’s important for employees to step outside the office to recharge. With summer generally considered to be a more carefree time, it’s a perfect season to host a company outing. Summer outings can be entertaining, but also establish a more interactive and positive workplace. Summer is right around the corner, and this is a great time to consider your outing plans! Find out how to get a jump start on planning your summer outings for companies below!
Ice breakers and puzzle games have their place, but sometimes you just want to get together as a group, and play. Here at TeamBonding, encouraging play is what we’re all about! When you play as a team, you develop and strengthen social bonds, which makes working together a more rewarding experience all around. With this in mind, we’re excited to share a free game for you to play with your team the next time you need to relax and have some fun.
Don’t have the big budget for a team building extravaganza? No worries! We’ve got you covered with plenty of DIY activities you can choose from in our DIY Store. You don’t always need tons of time or money for a big team retreat. Take a look at some of our most popular DIY activities down below.
When you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, keep in mind what you achieved in the past year, both positives and negatives. The truth is, while we can make as many New Year’s resolutions as we want, they won’t come to fruition if you don’t actually have the motivation and care to.
Transitions can be tough and the transition from a fast-paced, fun-filled summer to a slower fall season is no different. Here’s how to help your team embrace this time of change and prepare your company for a successful autumn with some fun team bonding activities.
With Hurricane Florence on the horizon, we’ve outlined 5 steps to keep your employees safe and supported during a natural disaster. In the wake of a crisis, your staff is left dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath into the future. The way you and your team prepare and react to the crisis will have a profound impact on all facets of your business.
Enter your email and we’ll add you to our newsletter of helpful tips, tricks, and techniques.