Not all teams are designed to last forever. Recognizing this, in 1977 the “Adjourning” stage was added to Tuckman’s model of group development.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
Many teams will reach this stage. Perhaps the organization has changed such that the group is no longer needed. Or maybe it is a taskforce designed to operate for a fixed period of time. Either way, it is important for the leader to recognize when a team reaches this stage and be prepared to facilitate member needs. There may be some discomfort, or even sadness, among those who have developed relationships with team members and/or begun to associate part of their identity with their membership of the team.
ROLE OF THE LEADER:
• Recognize when it is time to adjourn a team.
• Evaluate performance.
• Learn and help others learn from the process.
• Celebrate successes.
• Facilitate closure and be sensitive to feelings of insecurity among group members.
• If the members are adjourning but not the group (e.g. members rotating off a board) allow members to help facilitate selection of new member if appropriate.
• Bridge members to new leadership opportunities.
We began this series recognizing the volume of teams we all work on. Some of which we lead, and many of which we serve. Take a few moments to think of where these teams are in terms of Tuckman’s model. Ask yourself what you can do to propel your team forward.