Stage 5: Adjourning

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.

HOMEWORK:

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.

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