The Eye of the Storm

Rethinking the Tuckman Model

Josh Ether

5/4/20171 min read

I'm going to challenge something here that may polarize several audiences. Teams never fully leave the stage of storming; they are just in the eye of the storm metaphorically speaking.

While the widely accepted model of team development includes four stages - forming, storming, norming, and performing - it is important to recognize that teams never truly leave the storming stage. Instead, they find themselves in a perpetual cycle of navigating the challenges and conflicts that arise within a team.

The storming stage represents a critical phase where team members face clashes and strive to establish their roles and identities. It is during this stage that the most significant growth and transformation occur. However, suggesting that teams fully exit this stage fails to acknowledge the ongoing dynamics and complexities that teams face throughout their lifespan.

Metaphorically speaking, teams are akin to being in the eye of the storm. While the center may offer temporary respite, turbulent winds continue to swirl around them. In the same way, even when teams seem to have moved past the storming stage and reached a state of harmony, the potential for conflict and disagreement remains ever-present.

This understanding is crucial for effective team management. Leaders must recognize that conflicts can resurface at any moment, requiring their attention and intervention. By accepting the idea that teams never entirely leave the storming stage, leaders are better prepared to anticipate and address conflicts as they arise, mitigating the negative impact on team dynamics.

Moreover, acknowledging the ongoing presence of storming allows leaders to foster an environment that encourages open communication, healthy debate, and constructive conflict resolution. By embracing the notion that storming is an inherent part of team development, leaders can create a culture that values diverse perspectives and encourages team members to express their ideas without fear.

Teams never fully leave the stage of storming; they are merely in the eye of the storm metaphorically speaking. Recognizing this perpetual cycle of team dynamics allows leaders to proactively manage conflicts, foster healthy communication, and ultimately guide their teams towards continued growth and success.