Implications for leaders

Because the form and storm stages in team building result in minimal output, it is tempting to rush through or short circuit these stages and to hope the group can thereby achieve peak productivity. Although seductive, this idea is dysfunctional. Just as individuals go through predictable stages of growth depending on age, experience, maturity, and other factors, teams go through predictable stages, the duration of which depends on factors such as individual and team maturity, task com­plexity, leadership, organizational climate, and external climate.

     Groups can fixate at various stages. Some (like some people) are never fully functioning. Given that the stages are inevitable, one-way to help reduce the time needed for a new or changing team to be fully productive while minimizing the tension, fear, or anxiety common in the form and storm stages is for the facilitator to help the group share rumours, con­cerns, and expectations about the group. Members of the team can contract with one another that there will be no “surprises,” and therefore an atmosphere of trust can be achieved earlier (norm stage), allowing for interpersonal issues to be put aside in favour of task issues and for the team to move on to perform.