Stages of Group Development

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever
had a bad experience working in a group or a team? Well if you’re like me the
answer is yes. But if you know a little bit about the research we’re going to
talk about on this video, you won’t be as alarmed or discouraged by it. We’re going
to talk about the four phases of group development, sometimes called the four
phases of decision emergence based upon some research by Aubrey Fisher. So let’s
get into the details. Hello again friends. Alex Lyon here and this channel is all
about helping rising leaders like you to help you increase your personal
leadership impact so you can bring out the best in the people around you. And
part of great leadership is learning how to work well with teams and groups.
That’s a huge responsibility for leaders. So let’s get into the four phases of
group development or decision emergence. And once you see all four I guarantee
you’ll see yourself in it. You’ll see your past group experiences in it. It’ll
be a little bit reassuring. So the first phase that almost all groups get into
when they start a new project or add new group members is called orientation. This is where people essentially warm up to each other and warm up to the task that
they are facing. So you get together and you make a little bit of small talk. If
you would express an opinion about the task it’s usually pretty
middle-of-the-road. You’re not taking a strong stance yet. You’re, it’s really
important that you develop this social foundation for the group. You get to know each other this these early moments, develop a little bit of trust and
bonding that will help you work well later. You don’t want to skip right into
the task. In fact, if you skip right to the task and get rid of all the small
talk it’s gonna cause a lot of problems. Eventually, however, once you’re good and warmed up you have to move on to the task and usually that’s where you enter
the second phase, which is called conflict. And this is where people always
say oh man my group is fighting and arguing. But the second phase is a
necessary phase and some degree of conflict is not necessarily a sign of
trouble. It does not automatically mean that the group is off course. In fact, you
have to have some conflict. Because if you think about it, if you express an opinion and someone else expresses a different opinion
maybe you’re gonna have a disagreement. If you want to be the leader someone
else wants to be the leader, you’re gonna have some conflict. If you suggest a
direction and they want a different direction, you’re gonna have conflict.
That’s totally normal. That’s what it means to be a human being. And in fact if you get through this in a mature way, in a patient way, and understand that this
kind of conflict is normal, it can be a very productive process for the group.
And you get a lot of good ideas on the table and you can move forward with some of the best ideas. So once you’re out of this conflict phase because you have to
move forward you’ve got to deliver things. You’re probably on a deadline. You get into the third phase which is called emergence. And this is where the group
really for the first time starts to emerge or come together as a cohesive
group. So to do this, people are backing off some of those stronger opinions.
They’re letting other people maybe take the lead and maybe they’ll take the lead
next time. They’re figuring out their role in the group and what part they
have to play. The dust begins to settle a little bit and people start to move
forward. This is a very reassuring stage because you’re like Oh finally we’re
making some progress. Oftentimes as a deadline which will kick you into this
third phase. And then finally the fourth phase is called reinforcement. This is
where the entire group is now working together as one. Everybody is pushing in
the same direction toward the goal. Everything is being reinforced. So you’re
really firing on all pistons or all cylinders. Everybody’s headed in the same direction with the same vision. So if you’ve ever been on a sports team, if
you’ve ever been in the performing arts or anywhere where there’s like a
showtime, like a game time, then you probably have seen yourself go through
these four phases pretty clearly. A lot of times the coach will get you out of
that conflict phase and settle any kind of conflict and disputes you have. You
get together. But by game time, by showtime, you have to be firing on all
pistons. So here’s why I say you have to get the conflict out earlier. A lot of
times people don’t like the conflict and they don’t want to go through that
second phase. So they stuff it. They push it down. What ends up happening is it
comes out at the wrong time later because those disagreements still exist.
They didn’t go away and you didn’t work through them. So they come out when you should be reinforcing and moving forward, sometimes they’ll come out in the wrong
moment at the wrong time. Now a couple of other tips about this. Any time you add a new
group member any time you are starting a new project of any kind you’re very
likely to go through this cycle again. These aren’t steps that then you or stay
reinforced forever. You go back through this cycle time and time again anytime
there’s something new introduced to the group or the team. So a question of the
day. Where do you see yourself in this process? If you’ve ever had a very
memorable experience in a group or a team that matches up with this or
perhaps you got stuck in that conflict stage, I would love to hear your comments in that section below. So thanks. God bless. I will see you in the next

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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