Sometimes you just have to give it time.

I’m sure most people have been in the situation where they start a new job and find themselves trying to fit in with the group of people who are already used to working together and who seem to have bonded together as a team. This can be incredibly daunting to walk into but one of the things to remember is that every time someone joins or leaves a team the dynamics change and there is process that the group, unconsciously go through.

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In the meantime, here are the stages that any group of people got through when learning to work together. There isn’t a definitive timescale linked to this as it will depend on a variety of factors such as how often the group work together, whether anyone joins or leaves and also what the task is that they are performing, along with the individual personalities present.

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The first stage is Forming – this is the process of people getting to know one another and is when uncertainty and tensions can be at their highest. This is where leadership is particularly important as people will be looking to those in charge for reassurance. Most of the interactions that take place between the team members will have a social aspect as they try to learn about one another and find common grounds.

Storming – this is the stage that you have to hope passes quickly as it is the most difficult one to manage. It is a stage full of competition and conflict as people try to assert their dominance in the group in a number of ways. Disagreements may occur, and productivity always decreases slightly at this point.

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Norming – the calm after the storm. Conflicts have been resolved and a degree of team work and team unity is starting to appear. Again, the leadership is key here in ensuring that everyone’s role is clearly defined, and they know how their job fits into the bigger picture of the team.

Performing – This is the most productive stage with all team members working hard and functioning well together. At this point the team is like a well-oiled machine.

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