The forming stage is characterized by polite interaction designed to test the waters and establish trust (Team Development [Onlin], 2008). Our team began like this. We had to get to know each other to determine roles and assignments but initially it seemed that none of us really stepped up to take control of the group. We were definitely being polite but not very productive. This was an awkward stage for us and we each struggled to establish ourselves in the group.
During our forming stage we had to decide when and how we were going to meet together. As a mother, I seemed to have the least flexible schedule. It was next to impossible to find a time that would work for me and the other group members.
I appreciated that they were willing to accommodate my needs for meeting times. This problem surprisingly seemed to pull us together as we struggled to find a solution to our "meeting time" problem. We had to be innovative in our approach (Goldratt, 1992). It was decided that we had to meet together physically at least a few times to put together the elements of our presentation but we all felt that we were responsible enough to accomplish quite a bit in between meetings, via e-mail, chat room and cell phone. This turned out well and was a successful soloution to a problem that surfaced early.
Storming is the next stage of team development. This is where members usually test and challenge each other and it is where leadership typically begins to form (Clinotn, Lunny, 1997). At first we all were fairly reluctant to take on a leadership role. According to Levi this is often because many team members in the early stages don't want to be identified as 'pushy or bossy' (2007). During this phase of our group during our initial contacts I often found myself in the role of leader which surprised me. In looking at the ages of our group members I realized that in fact I was the oldest and that the team seemed to be naturally looking to me for direction. Some group theories indicate that often group members re-create dynamics from their family of origin (Neill, 2007). As the oldest of the team, I found myself pushing the younger members, especially the youngest to complete assignments and communicate with the group. There was quite a bit of testing during this stage (Yalom, 1995). We seemed to be testing each others commitment to the project and there were times when one or more of us would have trouble getting to meetings, getting back in touch or completing parts of our assignments. We all seemed a little nervous during this stage and things aeemed chaotic and unpredictable. Despite some of the difficulties we remained supportive of one another and in the end the chaos of this stage helped our group develop (Shaw, 1961).
The next stage we entered was that of norming. It is in this stage that members really begin to trust each, establish their roles and begin to be most productive (Blair, 2008). This is where we really began to get something accomplished. We also were getting comfortable with each other and our different styles of communication (Cott, 1997). We all had different personality types but by this time it seemed more of strength than a weakness (Delbecq, Van de Ven,1971). We also had different likes and dislikes in the work that was needed for the project so we tried to