4 Key Things You Need To Know To Get The Most Out Of Your Team

It’s not uncommon as a business owner to feel stuck. To feel like you’ve hit a plateau and you’re not moving forward.

The root of this problem can more often than not be about who rather than what. For example:

  • Is there a member of our team that is in the wrong role? 
  • Is there a member of our team that might not be a right-fit team player?

Understanding team dynamics allows us to answer these questions – and, more importantly, identify the solution. 

Thankfully, there are models available to help us to unlock and then benefit from this understanding.

Tuckman’s team dynamics 

In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed a five-step model of group development, which he called “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning”, which describes the journey that teams take on their way to becoming highly effective.

Let’s explore the stages in more detail.


The forming stage of team dynamics could be described as the honeymoon period. There’s excitement, enthusiasm, and a general air of positivity. The possibilities feel endless, and the realities of team dynamics and politics haven’t yet begun.

Of course, the forming stage doesn’t strictly relate to forming entirely new teams. It could be when team members silo off into new projects or different parts of the business, or when somebody leaves and the dynamic needs to reform.

What’s crucial in the forming stage in any context is that we’re looking at the personalities of our team members. Consider the following questions

  • Have we chosen the right person for the job? 
  • Are they clear on the outcomes? 
  • Do they have the capability and skill necessary to deliver those outcomes? 

During this critical time, business leaders should be

  • Facilitating conversations between people
  • Making introductions
  • Ensuring everybody is clear on the bigger picture
  • Setting expectations and timeframes
  • Communicating what success does and doesn’t look like.

Within all of the above, we should be emphasising who is responsible for which part of the project, and how each person fits into the wider team goals.


The storming stage begins when people feel the need to establish and secure their position in the team. This might manifest as people being competitive or pushing back on established boundaries. We could describe it as the teething stage. 

The storming stage might be very short – or skipped altogether – in teams that are full of right-fit players with complementary personalities, or where a leader has dedicated time and effort to everything described in the norming stage.

During this stage, we might observe the following behaviours:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Miscommunication
  • Clash of working styles. 

What can we do to move through the storming stage?

Liz Wiseman, in her book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, explores how we can understand the native genius of each of the members in our team. A core principle of the book is to leverage the capability and intelligence of each team member, promoting trust, confidence, and a growth mindset in the team. 

A great exercise you can do with your team is to ask each team member to take five minutes to write about their native genius. Consider this definition from Liz Wiseman:

“A native genius is something that people do, not only exceptionally well, but absolutely naturally. They do it easily (without extra effort) and freely (without condition).”

What do your team members think is their strength? What are they able to deliver freely and with minimal effort?

This exercise is helpful to ensure we’re not setting unrealistic expectations for team members, acknowledging the important role everyone plays in the wider company vision, and leveraging the unique superpowers of each team member.


We know we’ve reached the norming stage when everybody understands their purpose and their goals. If we can read the following list and tick “yes” to everything, we can be assured of smooth sailing:

  • Team members know their position within a team and how it contributes to the wider company vision.
  • The team is engaged, highly communicative and supportive.
  • There is little friction.
  • All team members are able to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities with little or no input from management.

As leaders, we can encourage our team in this stage and promote growth by simply acknowledging people and their efforts. We can offer constructive feedback and be enthusiastic about opportunities that are available to team members to improve their performance. 

It’s equally important to be generally monitoring the team energy: how happy are people? Are they engaging with their work in a positive way?

Whilst norming is a great stage to be in, it’s not the end of the line.

In the norming stage, whilst we’re smooth sailing, we might also notice a lack of growth or positive change. People may not be taking as much initiative as we’d like, or failing to offer new ideas. Team members might need a little more encouragement to take initiative  whilst confidence is still being built. 

If we can acknowledge and nurture these patterns, we move into the optimum stage…


The performing stage is the cherry on the cake: 

Team members…

  • Have consistent performance
  • Demonstrate autonomy and independence
  • Can self-manage 
  • Are highly motivated
  • Celebrate each other
  • Are team players 
  • Take initiative
  • Ideate 

Our team is in flow, working together as the A-Players we all dream of. 


Adjourning, often referred to as the fifth stage in Tuckman’s model, is all about the conclusion of a team’s work. This stage is sometimes overlooked, but it’s vital for teams to address, especially if your team project has a finite timeline or if team members are transitioning out.

In the adjourning stage:

  • Reflection and Celebration: It’s a time to reflect on what the team has achieved. Acknowledge the milestones reached and the hard work put in. Celebrate successes, big or small. This not only boosts team morale but also provides closure to the project.
  • Saying Goodbye: If team members are moving on to other projects or leaving the team, it’s essential to say goodbye gracefully. Recognize their contributions and express gratitude for their efforts. This helps team members leave on a positive note and maintain good relationships.
  • Knowledge Transfer: If team members are transitioning out, ensuring that there is a smooth knowledge transfer process in place. Documentation of key information and processes to help incoming team members or colleagues understand the work done so far.
  • Feedback and Learning: Taking the time to gather feedback from team members about the project and the team dynamics. What worked well, and what could be improved? This feedback can be valuable for future projects and team development.
  • Future Planning: Discussing the next steps as a team. Will this team continue to work together on another project, or is this the end of this particular team’s journey? Setting expectations for the future helps team members prepare for what comes next.
  • Closure: This can be a simple, symbolic act, such as a team dinner or a thank-you note. It signifies the end of the current team’s phase and allows everyone to move forward with clarity.

In the adjourning stage, emotions can vary from relief to sadness, depending on the team’s experiences and the relationships formed. Acknowledging these emotions and providing support can make the transition smoother for everyone involved.

Remember that teams often cycle through the stages of Tuckman’s model as they work on various projects or undergo changes. Adjourning is a necessary part of the team’s journey, and by addressing it with care and consideration, you can pave the way for more successful collaborations in the future.

It’s important to note that each time the team dynamic updates, a new member joins or someone leaves, it resets back to Forming.

Why is it so important to have right-fit players in your team?

Sometimes, we may find that our team is stuck in the storming or norming stage without knowing why. We’re doing everything right, following all the models of team development, but something just isn’t working.

When it comes to team dynamics, unfortunately the phrase “one bad apple spoils the barrel” is true. If we have a single member that is causing conflict, missing deadlines, or generally not performing, then the team will likely not be performing at their optimum.

It doesn’t necessarily mean this person is a wrong-fit for the company. Perhaps they’re in the wrong role and need to be transferred to a different area. This is where the native genius task mentioned earlier in this blog comes in handy – are all team members in roles that leverage their native genius?


If you’re wanting some input on how you can remove blockages and improve workflow in your business, hop on a free discovery call with us.