The 5 Stages of Team Building (With Activities for Each of Them)

The 5 Stages of Team Building (With Activities for Each of Them)

The 5 stages of team building might be familiar to you if you’re a business leader or manager. Bruce Tuckman and Jensen suggested five different stages of group development in 1977. These stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Typically, every team goes through these stages in order to become highly effective and successful.

In this article, let’s have a look at these stages along with some team building activities that you can try in each stage.

The 5 Stages of Team Building and Activities for Each of Them

#1. Forming

This is the first stage of group development. Here the team is just formed but its members have not yet connected with each other. So, each individual would be trying to understand the attitudes and personality types of their colleagues. Moreover, they might be looking to make an impression on their coworkers.

Team Building Exercises for the Forming Stage

In the forming stage, employees are likely to have issues with connecting with others and getting involved in a group. So, conducting icebreakers and team bonding activities is desirable.

Below are some activities that you can try.

My Name is?

This is a quick icebreaker that you can try. Here the participants should tell their name by adding a prefix that best describes them. For example Smart Brandon, Charming Camila, etc.

The Bad and The Good

This is one of the interesting activities to strengthen the bond between colleagues. In this activity, each person needs to discuss a bad experience that they had in their personal life or at work. Then, the teammates should analyze the issue and suggest the positives that can be taken from it.

If you want to know more about the forming stage, you can read this article: 10 Forming Stage Activities for Successful Team Building

#2. Storming

The second stage is known as storming. In this stage, the group members try to share their individual goals and expectations. So, there might be differences in opinions. Additionally, some people resist control, and they try to oppose others. As a result, conflicts, unwanted confrontations, and misunderstandings arise during this stage.

Team Building Exercises for the Storming Stage

In the storming stage, it’s necessary to manage conflicts and direct the teams towards your company goals. For this reason, exercises that focus on conflict resolution, communication, problem solving, and trust building are desirable.

Card Swap

The main focus of this activity is to minimize conflicts and improve communication and negotiation skills. Initially, cut a playing card (or picture) into several pieces and distribute them to different teams. Now, the participants must arrange the pieces so that they can form the original card. Since they don’t have all the pieces to complete the picture, they will have to negotiate with other teams.

Blind Polygon

This activity focuses on communication and trust building. Here the participants wear a blindfold and find a rope that lye on the floor. Then, they need to form a triangle, square, or any shape using the rope without letting go of it.

Brainstorming Session

This exercise focuses on problem solving. In this activity, the participants need to brainstorm ideas on any given topic within the specified time. The topic can be anything related to work or a real-life problem.

If you want to know more about the storming stage, you can read this article: 10 Team Building Activities for the Storming Stage

#3. Norming

The third stage is known as norming. Here the team norms or basic rules are established. For example, rules about assigning roles, individual behavior, etc. Literally, this is the stage in which mutual trust and good relationships among coworkers start to form. Also, teams would try different ways of working and their entire focus would be on the goals to be achieved.

Team Building Exercises for the Norming Stage

Here your employees might need feedback regarding how team goals are achieved. So, activities that focus on improving planning skills would be good. Moreover, exercises that focus on improving adaptability and managing change are also needed.

Some of the activities that you can try are:

Road Map Game

This activity improves the planning skills of teams. In this activity, the participants need to plan a trip with the help of available resources. For this, you need to provide them a map of any location and also a list of information such as type of car, price of fuel, etc. Then, the teams need to come up with a wonderful plan that fits their budget.

Dream Workplace

This activity helps to improve the adaptability skills of your employees. Here you need to ask your teams to draw their dream workplace on a flipchart. The members should only communicate by writing, not verbally.

Forward or Backward Game

This activity helps you understand how your teams respond to change. In this activity, you can tell some change-related words like “alteration”, “conversion”, etc., one by one. Then, the participants should respond to each word by moving forward if it induces a positive response or backward if it induces a negative response.

If you want to know more about the norming stage, you can read this article: 10 Team Building Activities for the Norming Stage

#4. Performing

The fourth and most important stage is known as performing. This is the stage in which employees actually work together as a team and get the job done. Literally, the three key terms in this stage are teamwork, performance, and goal achievement. The reason is overall goals are accomplished by a team through teamwork.

Team Building Exercises for the Performing Stage

During the performing stage, all you need is cooperation and teamwork. However, there might be issues like poor performance, lack of communication or motivation, etc. So, you need exercises that keep your teams stay cooperative, engaged, and motivated.

Below are some activities that you can try.

Scavenger Hunt

The scavenger hunt is best for directing your team to work towards achieving a common goal. In this activity, participants should find a list of items based on the given clues. For example, you give the first clue at the start, then they find that item and get the next clue. This continues until they find all the items.

Project Race

This activity helps to improve cooperation among your employees. Here you can give your teams a fun task. Ask them to assign roles and complete the task within the time limit.

If you want to know more about the performing stage, you can read this article: 10 Team Building Activities for the Performing Stage

#5. Adjourning

The final stage is known as adjourning. Here the group just disbands as it has either finished the task or some of its members have moved on. Before a team disbands, its members would think about the time they spent together. So, they probably want to celebrate achievements and success before going on their own ways.

Team Building Exercises for the Adjourning Stage

Here you can try various retreat activities, outings, and other celebrations. However, there might be resistance to change among several individuals. This usually happens when a team is about to disband forever or its members will have to work on a different group for the next project. In such cases, change management exercises are desirable.

Here are some activities that you can try.

DJ Night

Who doesn’t want a rocking DJ full of music and dance? If you want to celebrate success and give a wonderful treat to your teams, you can go to a DJ club with them. Alternatively, you can also arrange a DJ party at your own office.

Surprise Dinner

Find a popular restaurant in your location to have a surprise dinner with your teams. As the name implies, it must be a surprise because you need not tell them where they are going.

Cross Your Arms

This is a change management exercise that can reduce resistance to change. First, ask the participants to cross their arms. After a few seconds, ask them to cross their arms the other way. Now, let them notice the difference.

If you want to know more about the adjourning stage, you can read this article: 10 Team Building Activities for the Adjourning Stage

Want Some Unique Team Building Activities for all Five Stages?

If you want some unique activities for the 5 stages of team building, you can get my new e-book:

The Busy Leader’s Guide of Unique Team Building Activities: 30 Fully Customizable Exercises That You Can Conduct with Any Group of Employees, Anywhere

Final Words

As a business leader, it’s important to know how your teams are progressing through each stage of team development. This will help you choose the right team building activities that actually work for them. Just in case you want more insight into building and managing strong teams, you can read my newly published article: “25 Best Team Building Books for Managers and Leaders”.

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