Tuckman Ladder

Tuckman’s five stages of team development with the corresponding leadership styles

Five Stages of Team Development

The five stages of team development in the Tuckman Ladder are:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing
  • Adjourning

These stages are described in the table below.

Key Points about Tuckman Ladder

Some key points to note are:

  • Usually the stages occur in order.
  • But teams can get stuck in a particular stage or regress to an earlier stage.
  • Projects with team members who worked together in the past might skip a stage.
  • The duration of a particular stage depends upon team dynamics, team size, and team leadership.
  • Project managers should have a good understanding of team dynamics in order to move their team members through all stages in an effective manner.
  • Project managers need to adapt their leadership styles according to the stage of team development.
  • The stages are situational and do not follow in sequence; for example, the team goes back to the forming stage when a new team member joins.

Leadership Style Mapping

The table below summarizes the five stages of the Tuckman Ladder, and the leadership styles appropriate for each stage. The header shows the five stages of team development in the Tuckman Ladder. The footer shows the leadership style that the project manager adopts in these stages.

  • First stage of team development
  • Team members try to avoid controversies or conflicts
  • Team members mostly work independently
  • Team members begin to know each and form impressions
  • Has the most potential for conflict
  • Is necessary for the growth of the team
  • Team members begin to work together and trust each other
  • Teams begin to function as a unit
  • Get the job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or the need for supervision
  • Only some teams manage to get into this stage
  • Tasks are completed
  • Team breaks up
  • Team members move on to other assignments

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Last updated: January 09, 2024