Understanding Groups

In order to become effective each team generally needs to pass through a number of development phases.

  • Phase 1 – The undeveloped team
  • Phase 2 – The experimenting team
  • Phase 3 – The consolidating team
  • Phase 4 – The mature team

The Undeveloped Team  Is present where people have come together to complete a common task, but have devoted little or no time to thinking about themselves as individuals who have now joined a group.

One of the main characteristics of this stage is that feelings are neither acknowledged nor discussed openly.

Problems or mistakes are used as “evidence” to help convict people of incompetence rather than used as opportunities for everyone to learn.

The result of this is that mistakes are often covered up by individuals, which in turn can lead to a lack of communication and ultimately isolation. Often outside threats to the team can be met by defensiveness.

The Experimenting Team The distinguished characteristics of this team is that it has made a decision to review it’s operating methods and wishes to improve it’s performance.

This phase of development is characterised by listening and thinking and less talking.

Things in the team come to life, people who have said little suddenly begin to have quite strong feelings and views about things. This can become an uncomfortable time for the team as inter-personal issues begin to emerge.

The Consolidating Team  Now there are better relationships, the basic foundations and frameworks within which the team operates must be regularly serviced and maintained.

*Clarifying the purpose of the task or activity.

*Establishing the objectives which need to be  met.

*Collecting the information needed to make an appropriate decision.

*Considering the options open to the team.

*Produce a mutually agreed plan of what needs to be done.

*Reviewing the outcome and use it as a basis for improving future operations.

It is the improving channels of communication which allow for such active and constructive discussion to take place.

The Mature Team Flexibility is the main characteristic of this phase of development.

All team members energies are utilized for the teams benefit and individual commitment to the team exists. Individual initiative is encouraged by the team as a whole. Trust, openness, honesty, co-operation, confrontation and a continued review of results becomes part of a way of life.

How often do we see a team operating in phase 4 the mature team.

Due to the high levels of staff turnover within organisations it can become difficult for the mature team to operate for any sustained length of time. Frequently large parts of the teams are lost at the same time, leaving gaps and needing time to rebuild again.

However, the importance of stage 4 of development is something to be aimed for, even if the experience is short.

Here, I have just provided a summary of my views.

This may demonstrate in theory a model of a balanced team. 8 types of team members.

1. Chair  2. Shaper  3. Plant  4. Monitor  Evaluator  5. Team Worker  6. Company Worker  7.  Resource Worker  8. Complete finisher 


[Should you require a team building session, then this would be explained and become clearer].


Team work is a vital component whether this is in sport, business or other if you wish to succeed at high levels. Therefore team building should be an active part to develop and sustain. It can be seen that team work is the mechanism of the workplace.


TEAM BUILDING tailored to meet your needs.


Wise saying/quote!

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”