A happy and productive team is an essential ingredient in delivering success for any business. Whilst most businesses are aware of the benefits of positive team morale, few of them are aware of the four stages of team building required for successful business team development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.

The Tuckman Model: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

Bruce Tuckman was a renowned American psychologist who spent his career studying the theory behind group dynamics. In 1965, he published a paper titled “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups”, detailing the four stages that teams follow on their way to success and high performance in their job function. 

Following these four stages of team building can help to ensure effective business team development, through the progressive construction of a team which avoiding the common dysfunctions which can develop between team members. Even for an established group, reviewing the four stages of team building is important to maintain morale and cohesion, thereby maintaining successful performance. Let’s take a look at Tuckman’s Four Stages of Team Building and how these can be achieved in your office.

four stages of team building how to build a successful team


The forming stage is where co-workers get to know each other and build the trust which is essential for good individual relationships. When a new team forms, it is important for the team to have a purpose which enables them to understand what they are collectively working towards. In the beginning, team members will be unsure of how to work best together. 

The absence of trust and direction at this stage will mean that team mates are not open with each other, will be unable to agree on strategy and operate less efficiently as they are unwilling to delegate and share tasks. It’s important for the team leader to establish this direction and help each team member find their role. Be patient, this stage may take longer than you think.


The storming stage is where teams address how they will function together, bring ideas to the table and compete for responsibility. There is potential for conflict at this stage if the team leader fails to manage disagreements and strong personalities, which can be destructive to overall efforts. This is why it is essential that teams establish good relationships and trust during the forming stage of team building. This ensures that roles and responsibilities are clear to reduce the risk of employees getting frustrated by the lack of progress.


As teams move on from the storming stage, team members will begin to appreciate each other’s strengths and respect the authority of team leaders. This norming stage involves the agreement of how to divide required work and what role each team member is to play in the accomplishment of the team’s goals. Generally, it represents a move towards more harmonious, cohesive working practices.

Neglecting the norming phase of team building will result in ad hoc assignment of tasks where team members perform random disconnected tasks that fail to take into account their strengths and weaknesses. 

There is a risk during the norming stage that the team can neglect creative thinking and new innovative ideas as complacency sets in. It’s the responsibility of the team leader to keep everyone on track, give constructive feedback and encourage creative discussion to ensure consistent success.


This final phase of team building is the stage at which teams are actually working on the project itself or the everyday functioning of a team. This stage requires teams to be actively helping and encouraging each other and holding teammates to account.

At this stage, team roles often become fluid, with colleagues picking up each other’s work and responsibilities when necessary. This kind of versatility can be hugely valuable to the overall success of the team.

Bruce Tuckman’s four stages of team building are vital to establish the relationships, trust, understanding and coordination of roles and tasks required for successful performance.

Additional stage: Mourning/Adjourning

After conducting further research, Tuckman revisited the four stages of team building and suggested an additional phase known as “mourning” or “adjourning”. This is a stage that teams reach naturally following the end of a project or when team members are broken up. 

This can be a period of adjustment for some team members, as routines can be disrupted and new plans are made to tackle future work. It’s important that internal communication is handled well throughout all stages, however it can be particularly important during this final stage to prevent a significant relapse period.

Achieving the Four Stages of Team Development

Knowledge of the four phases listed above is useful in managing both the development of newly assembled teams and the continued successful performance of established teams. It is important to establish which stage your team is at in order to work out how you need to improve. Work your way through the relevant phases and schedule in regular reviews to see how you are progressing. The most important thing is to be patient, teams might go back and forth between stages so be understanding of this.

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How Can Team Building Activities Strengthen Your Team?

The use of fun and engaging team building activities outside the team’s work environment can create a strong bond, improve communication and ensure they can work together more effectively.

face to face team building activities

How can Team Tactics help your team to develop?

At Team Tactics, we provide a large selection of team building activities with an event suitable for any group. From events requiring strong technical and analytical skills to those requiring optimum creativity, there is an event for everyone. Team building activities promote problem solving, communication and leadership in a supportive, entertaining and encouraging environment. 

Our activities are designed to be fun and engaging and are therefore an excellent way of forming relationships whilst becoming familiar with each other’s strengths. The fun, pressure free environment assists with norming and storming and performing by requiring teams to work together and perform in a pressure free environment.

From fantastic indoor events to exciting outdoor activities, including London treasure hunts and city exploration, we have something for everyone! Have an event in mind? Get in touch today and speak to one of our event experts.