The storming stage of team development

What is the storming stage of team development

Based on Tuckman’s stages of team development, storming is one of the stages of developing a team. We know by now that Tuckman representation implies something linear. But building a team is not a linear process. That means that the stage of storming can happen more than once. It happens again and again, maybe not always as a storm. Sometimes the weather in the team is calm, sometimes the storm starts with a cloud or rain, a thunder or two. It is essential for the team to learn to cope with “the weather”. As a matter of fact, it would be essential for a team to be able to resolve small conflicts, in the form of a warm summer rain, before they become a thunderstorm.

Imagine your team as a crew on a sailing boat. Every crew member brings their own map, compass, and preferred route to reach the destination – success. But, as you can imagine, with so many different perspectives, disagreements are bound to happen. This is where the storming begins. Storming is like the waves that shake the boat, forcing everyone to reassess, adapt, and grow for a common purpose.

Summarising, what is the storming stage of team development? Storming is more a repeating thing, than one stage of team development. Just as storms at sea can arise unexpectedly, so too can conflicts and challenges within a team emerge at any point. This is human nature. As teams are made up of individuals with different personalities, backgrounds and perspectives, it’s only natural that conflicts will arise as these differences interact.

“Storming” builds stronger bonds

Picture this: during a heated debate about the best course of action, team members not only expose their vulnerabilities, but also demonstrate their commitment to finding the optimal solution. They learn to appreciate each other’s strengths, understand their weaknesses, and respect their individual quirks. Through “storming”, trust deepens and bonds are strengthened.

Increasing self-awareness 

Storming isn’t just about navigating external challenges, it’s also about exploring internal seas. Conflict often reveals our own strengths and weaknesses, helping us grow personally and professionally. Just as sailors learn to read the winds and waves, team members learn to navigate their own emotions and reactions. By embracing these challenges as opportunities for self-discovery and growth, team members can strengthen their interpersonal skills, increase their emotional intelligence, and contribute more effectively to the success of the team.

Embracing diversity

Just as each sailing boat navigates the waters differently based on its design and capabilities, team members approach problems and tasks with their own perspectives and skills. Through storming, teams appreciate the different insights and approaches that come from diversity. This diversity becomes a valuable asset. It enables the team to address complex challenges with greater flexibility and effectiveness.

Using conflict as a wind in your sails

Every storm leaves behind valuable lessons. Similarly, every conflict provides an opportunity for learning and growth. By reflecting on past confrontations, teams can refine their strategies, improve collaboration, and sail smoother waters in the future. By using these experiences as opportunities for learning and growth, teams can strengthen their cohesion, resilience and effectiveness in achieving their goals. And is through continuous reflection and adaptation that teams can achieve greater success.

Conflict doesn’t necessarily have negative implications. Imagine a team struggling with a disagreement over the best approach to a project. It may feel like sailing against the wind at first, but once resolved, it can move the team forward with newfound energy and clarity. Conflict is like wind in sails, providing momentum and direction. If managed effectively, disagreements can stimulate creative thinking, encourage innovative ways of solving problems and lead to better results.

Addressing toxic waves

Just as a storm at sea can bring out the worst in people, conflicts within teams can sometimes turn toxic. But, just as skilled sailors know how to navigate dangerous waters, effective conflict management can guide teams away from toxicity. By prioritizing respect, open communication and mutual understanding, teams can weather storms of conflict more effectively and emerge stronger and more united.


Summarising: The Storming “stage” is vital

In the ocean of team development, storming isn’t an obstacle. It’s the very wind that drives teams forward. Embracing challenges is an essential part of the journey. This way teams can build trust, embrace diversity, manage toxicity, harness energy, increase self-awareness and ultimately sail towards success, even in the roughest of professional seas.

So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a stormy team meeting, remember that this is the path to greatness. Embrace the storm, avoid toxic behaviours, invest in effective team development and watch your team thrive.

Ready to navigate the storm together?

Check out my “entry workshop” and reach out to start a conversation about how we can collaborate on your team’s development. Together, we’ll navigate the storms of conflict, foster trust, celebrate diversity, and guide your team towards greater success.

Photo by Loren Dosti on Unsplash