According to Tuckman (1965 and 1977) a team must go through several stages to progress into development;
- Forming – Task orientated, ground rules, dependent
- Storming – Intergroup conflict, resisting loss of individual identity
- Norming – Cohesion, an entity
- Performing – Problem solving, an instrument, flexible and functional
- Abjourning – Reflection, ending the team.
Whilst this linear structure is hugely useful to identify where a team is at any one time, it also suggests that this is the specific order a team must go through, that performing is one dimensional and that a team will not drop back a stage. Rickards and Moger (2000), further pull out the point, as the model is too simplistic, it fails to understand the development of the group and how the group progresses, i.e what makes a group go from storming to norming?
Tuckman’s model is representative of the importance of team development and building within successful businesses (Bonebright 2010). But the simplistity of the model and my struggle over the past couple of posts, to understand how, why and when exactly does a team change from a group of individuals into a team, is another attempt at trying to explain away the stages of “some” teams. Within business, understanding what makes good teams is ever more crucial as it not only adds to “competitive advantage” (Miller 2003:121) but it also is necessary to bring a entrepreneurs idea into a reality. Individuals have ideas and teams make them happen.
Whilst an evaluation of Tuckman’s model is suggestive of what may happen within a team in isolation, it does not account for any external influences, internal pressures or the complexity of team dynamics (Bonebright 2010:119)
So using the model as an analysis tool to label, where does my current teams stand at? I think i/we are in two stages. I’m currently, in adjourning in regarding to my Enactus Newcastle team. I do in a sense feel mourning for the loss of that team because I felt I really belonged within it and loved every second of being a part of it. Consequently, it has been very difficult to let go of this team not constantly compare this team to Enactus. This may explain my initial lack of team engagement, as my expectations were far too high. Thus, I need to work on letting go of this previous team and instead of putting my energy into the analysis of why this current doesn’t work incomparison to Enactus, I need to focus on why this team isn’t working in isolation and understand what my role in that was.
I can already take lessons away from the Sustainability task, in terms of things that I did well to motivate the team and to share some elements of my experience and learning. But I can also pin point, that doing things for other people, is not productive. This may invite positive feedback and feelings in the short term but not in the long term, regarding the functionality of the team. So whilst i can consider, the sustainability task as a failing……without our group accountability of that, I can only take my own accountability into consideration.
In regards to where our group is at the moment, I think we sway from forming into storming on a regular basis; we flow back and forth. From my perception, as nothing good or productive ever comes out of the storming stage, we are unable to move forward, as a group we are not learning. We individually get frustrated, clash heads and then fall away from each other and nothing changes. As many of the individuals are not task orientated or inputting equally to the task and most of the group, is flaunting our set rules, there is a distinct lack of direction and mutual respect for each other. In fact, the low levels of motivation, is infectious. This was demonstrated in the fact, I could have sat and wrote out the five year plan for the sustainability project and re-drafted the report, but as that had been someone else’s allocated role and I’d already done more than my fair share, I didn’t. There was a mixture of refusal out of principle and wanting the group to learn, we need to work as a unit to produce a good end result.
However, I believe with the groups about to be shaken up, which can only be a good thing, certain toxic relationships will be broken and as individuals we are more aware of what makes a good team and the people we’d like to work with. Hence I gravitated into the other team, when selected our new teams. This was not done from considering about individual strengths, this came from considering who I think would be able to work well together as a group. Instead of considering individuals, i considered the whole.
So key things to take forward into next week, moving on from Enactus Newcastle and the team that was. Moving towards, our new team and the team that could be..
- Forming, Storming, Norming: The Tuckman Model of Group and Team Development (managementpocketbooks.wordpress.com)