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What Are The Different Types of Team Development Models? - HRDQ

What Are The Different Types of Team Development Models?

What makes a great team great? Why do you sometimes get mediocre results when you assemble a dream team of employees? How do teams grow and develop over time?

Team development and effectiveness models try to answer these types of questions. Over the last several decades, researchers have come up with various models they believe break down what helps a team grow together and become more effective over time.

Each of the models on this list has ideal scenarios in which they can be used. Depending on where your team is and what obstacles you face as a group, you might find one model particularly relevant.

Let's look closer at the different types of team development models and when they are most effective. 

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What Is a Team Development Model?

A team development model is a system through which groups of people can grow, tackle problems, face up to challenges, find solutions, plan out their work, and deliver the necessary results.

A Team Development Meeting

Essentially, it is a model that can be used to structure the growth and maturation of a team.

Are you wondering how one would define an extraordinary team? Check out this post to learn more about what makes for a stellar team experience.

The Different Types of Team Development Models

People have been studying and trying to understand the dynamics of a successful team for a long time. You can't simply put a group of people together and expect they will be effective and efficient in reaching a stated goal– there are many important factors to consider.

Discussing Team Development

Let's look at some of the most notable team development and effectiveness models to help you understand how your team can grow over time.

The Tuckman Model

First proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, the forming–storming–norming–performing model posits that a team must go through each of these phases to develop and grow. He also suggested that task activity and interpersonal relationships would enhance this model as a team works to create effective group functioning.

The Tuckman Model

Since it was first introduced, the four stages of the Tuckman model have transformed into a five-stage model:

  • Forming: The stage when teams first meet, get to know each other, and determine their goals and objectives.
  • Storming: The stage when team members begin to open up with one another, build trust, and share how they prefer to work.
  • Norming: The stage when everyone begins to understand the value of working together as a team toward the collective goal; for the sake of the larger group, quirks are tolerated and accepted.
  • Performing: There is a shared motivation toward working collaboratively to meet the stated goals; trust is built.
  • Adjourning: An assessment is performed once the project is complete to analyze the team's effectiveness, make necessary changes, and acknowledge individual contributions.

The Tuckman Model is beneficial when you are trying to understand the way that a team can grow and develop over time. It's worth noting that the stages of development in Tuckman's model aren't strictly linear– many different elements can change the nature of a team (such as new members joining), and the group could shift to previous stages before moving back toward the performing and adjourning stages.

Are you wondering how you can improve your team-building efforts? Take a look at these seven characteristics of effective team building.

The Hackman Model

Richard Hackman introduced a team development model after he began his research into teams in the 1970s. He believed that the conditions that allow a group to thrive are the most critical aspects of team effectiveness rather than the behaviors, personalities, or characteristics of individual people within the group.

The Hackman Model

Five essential factors make up this model, which are:

  • Being a real team: Each individual has a defined role and set tasks they are responsible for.
  • Enabling structure: The team has workflows and processes that support them in achieving their goals.
  • Compelling direction: There is a set, clear end goal or direction that the team is working towards.
  • Expert coaching: The team has access to a mentor or coach when they need additional help to perform at their best.
  • Supportive context: The team has all of the resources, training, and tools they need to achieve their goal.

You can use this model when you are trying to determine which element or dimension is missing from the current team dynamic. From there, you can determine what actions will help to remedy the issue.

The Robbins and Judge Model

According to this model, there are four key elements that successful teams need to focus on.

The Robbins and Judge Model

These four elements are:

  • Context: The team has a climate of trust, adequate resources, a performance reward system, and effective leadership and structure.
  • Composition: The way that the team is put together, including the personalities and abilities of each team member, the size of the team, the allocation of roles, and the preferences of each team member in relation to teamwork.
  • Work design: Considering task significance, skill variety, and freedom and autonomy.
  • Team process: The process through which the team achieves its goals, including committing to a common purpose, self-belief, managing conflict, organizing how the desired outcome will be reached, accountability, and more.

Sometimes, even the strongest individual employees struggle to shift into a team mindset. This model can help increase ownership and engagement while helping teams connect with a larger, meaningful purpose.

The Lencioni Model

The Lencioni model focuses on the negative aspects of team development rather than the positive. Instead of emphasizing what is necessary to achieve success, Patrick Lencioni outlines five things that must be avoided to be an effective team.

The Lencioni Model

These dysfunctions are:

  • Fear of conflicts
  • Absence of trust
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Lack of commitment
  • Inattention to results

Though it can be good to keep your eye on the positives, the Lencioni model shouldn't be overlooked for its negative view of what to avoid. No matter how successful your team is, it can be helpful to understand what factors could be detrimental to your team and what to do if you end up facing one of them.

The Google Model

Auditing and analyzing their own teams, Google examined more than 250 attributes of nearly two hundred teams within their company and conducted interviews with more than two hundred employees.

What they found is this: the effectiveness of a team isn't specifically about the individuals that comprise the team. Instead, the more important factors are how the team members structure their work, interact with one another, and perceive their contributions.

The Google Model

In this model, there are five key dynamics that must be present for a team to be successful:

  • Dependability: Being able to rely on one another to produce high-quality work on time.
  • Psychological safety: Feeling free to take risks without experiencing embarrassment or insecurity.
  • Clarity and structure: Having clear roles, goals, and plans at the group level and for each individual.
  • Meaning of work: Each team member's ability to work on something personally important.
  • Impact of work: The feeling and belief that the work being produced matters.

If you're trying to find places where your team can improve, the Google model can make it more possible for team members to discuss how to make the team better in a usefully structured way.

T7 Model

In this model, seven different variables impact the development and effectiveness of a team. Five variables are considered internal factors, while the other two are considered external factors.

The T7 Model

The five internal factors– meaning that they have to do with the inner functioning of the team– are:

  • Trust
  • Talent
  • Thrust
  • Task skills
  • Teaming skills

The two external factors– meaning that they apply to the larger decision-making context that surrounds the team– are:

  • Team support from the organization
  • Team leader fit

This model can be used when a leader is working to understand all of the pieces that come together to create an effective team. By looking at each element, you can determine your team's strengths and weaknesses.

The Katzenback and Smith Model

Developed in 1993, the Katzenback and Smith Model puts forward the notion that there are five different levels of teamwork.

The Katzenback and Smith Model

These are:

  • A working group
  • A pseudo-team
  • A potential team
  • A real team
  • A high-performing team

All companies and organizations strive for the last option on this list– the high-performing team. Team members on this type of team go above and beyond simply collaborating to get a task or project done. According to this model, three potential outcomes can result from a high-performing team:

  • Performance results
  • Collective work products
  • Personal growth

A team must work on accountability, skills, and commitment (known as "effectiveness factors") to achieve all three of the above outcomes.

The GRPI Model

Introduced in 1972 by Richard Behard and later popularized by Ronald Fry, Mark Plovnick, and Irwin Rubin, the GRPI model is one of the best-known team effectiveness models.

The GRPI Model

The four elements of this model (and the source of the acronym) are as follows:

  • Goals: Clear objectives and direction are necessary for a team to be effective.
  • Roles: The responsibilities of each team member must be clearly understood.
  • Procedures: Processes and systems must be in place for the successful operation of a team.
  • Interpersonal relationships: Every team member must develop relationships with the other team members, and it's essential that they can trust each other and communicate effectively.

If you are dealing with a team that seems to have no direction or is struggling to hit their goals, the GRPI model might be helpful to turn them from dysfunctional to functional.

The LaFasto and Larson Model

There are five crucial elements of a successful team, according to the LaFasto and Larson model.

The LaFasto and Larson Model

These five crucial elements are:

  • Team relationships
  • Team members
  • Team leadership
  • Team problem-solving
  • A suitable work environment

Considering that this model prioritizes collective thinking, it is best used by managers looking to gain a further understanding of the dynamics of collaboration and teamwork.

The Salas, Dickinson, Converse, and Tannenbaum Model

This team development model is an adaptation of the Hackman model.

Salas Dickinson Converse Tannenbaum Model

There are six variables they suggest as making up an effective team, which are:

  • Team design
  • Organizational context
  • Team synergy
  • Material resources
  • Process effectiveness
  • Group effectiveness

The Salas, Dickinson, Converse, and Tannenbaum Model is best used for teams that are already formed. Using this structure, you can analyze the context of your team and determine what could be improved.

Team Development and Effectiveness– Where Does Your Team Stand?

There is nothing more incredible than a high-functioning, successful team that works together like a well-oiled machine. At the same time, sometimes even the best collection of employees can struggle to work together effectively and march forward toward a common purpose.

One of the best things you can do if you are trying to determine how your team can be more effective is to take a close look at every element in play. Using our Team Effectiveness Profile, you'll have access to an assessment and workshop that helps boost output and work satisfaction.

An Effective Team

It can sometimes be challenging to identify what is blocking your team's ability to perform at their best. Using this assessment, you can get a firm grasp on what the issues are so you can overcome them.

If you believe that your team would benefit from a refresher on some essential skills like communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and time management, you'll want to take a look at our Team Development Activities. Applicable in various industries, these activities can help individuals learn or brush up on essential skills that help them be effective team members.

Do you have any questions about the different types of team development models or other similar topics? If so, please feel free to leave a comment below. We always do our best to respond to comments within a day or two, and we're always happy to answer any questions you might have.

Additionally, if you ever have any questions regarding our line of products or how they may be able to help your company, we'll gladly provide as much information as we can so that you can make an informed and knowledgeable purchase.

Recommended Assessment
Team Effectiveness Profile
  • Uncover producitivity issues
  • Improve work satisfaction
  • Improve group output
Learn more
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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.