The Five Stages of Team Development

Having a group of very skilled players with one goal is not enough to win consistently. Similar to elite team sports, in professional team esports, one of the most important factors for great results is a well functioning and synergized team. Unfortunately a lot of teams or esports organizations would often rely on methods that use the principle of ‘trial and error’ instead of consciously and deliberately building their team and transforming it from ‘a skilled group of people with a common interest’ to ‘a well functioning unit’ that has only one job – to perform at its best.

One of the first steps to build and further develop your team is to understand the basic process and stages in team development. Here is a simplified illustration of the five stages in team development.

  1. Forming 

Square one. This is the stage where we are still a group and not a team. Everyone has come to the group with their good and bad sides. The forming stage is when we are getting acquainted and figuring out whether our group has potential to work. Authority and leadership are at their dawn – players would test each other but would not show their true colors yet.

  1. Storming

Square two. Most teams fail here. The storming stage is considered to be the real test whether the group would turn into a team. This stage is the most difficult and critical stage to pass through and there are good reasons behind it. During the storming stage players would no longer be silent about their team members’ flaws. They would challenge them, criticize and not be afraid to start conflicts and even challenge the established leadership. This is the stage where individual differences must be overcome and sacrifices must be made. 

  1. Norming

Square three. If players have managed to overcome the storming stage and have successfully resolved fundamental conflicts regarding roles, performance, requirements, distribution of power etc., they would enter the norming stage. At this stage it’s safe to say that we could consider our group a team. Team balance and cohesion begin to form and players are more bonded and learn to work with each other in what is known as teamwork.  

  1. Performing

Square four. During the performing stage we have a good functioning team that has awareness about their strong and weak sides and how to get the best of their performance. The hierarchy in the team is clear and roles are well distributed. The team is well-functioning and focused on their goals. If conflicts happen they are resolved in a timely manner and in a mature way. 

  1. Adjourning

Square five. If the team has no further ambitions or goals it enters the stage of adjourning.

This is the final stage. Ideally, during the adjourning stage the predefined goals should be achieved. The team begins a resolution process looking back at what has been accomplished and/or what could have happened in a better way. If the roster of the team changes, the whole process begins from square one.

Some good questions to ask when we want to improve our team:

  • What do we like about this team?
  • What should we improve?
  • How can we improve?

What is your experience with different teams? Please share in the comments. If you want to build a clutch mentality and learn new mental skills that would help you overcome your difficulties in your game – message me at and receive your first session for FREE.

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About George
George Atanasov is a mental performance consultant, currently working in professional esports. He has experience consulting elite athletes and esports players. If you want to improve your mental game sign up for a free initial session with him by messaging at