This semester we’ve had a lot of group work. No really.. it’s ridiculous! I would much rather get my projects done independently but apparently CARIMAC believes that since we’re going to be in the media industry and we’re going to have to work in teams… we might as well start now. Sigh*
Though I have a preference for individual work, I can’t help but admit that working in groups well more so working as a part of a team, is extremely important for any organization (be it a group, school, company, business) to function efficiently and effectively.
With that said, in 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed a 4 stage model for group development…
let’s get to it…
The name pretty much says it all… in the first step the group literally “forms”…
It’s the “getting to know you” part of the process; everybody is pleasant, there is very little conflict… if any at all; it a comfortable place to be. Being a part of so many group projects, I can tell you that this phase is the calm before the storm… pun intended. You find out a little about the background of the people you’d eventually be working with, you build trust, loyalty and on a very superficial level you discuss the project. Oh, I notice that in this stage a group leader usually emerges. He/she may not be OFFICIALLY appointed but a dominant personality or a few of these personalities surface.
2. Storming- I think there are 2 reasons why Tuckman entitled this stage “storming”. Not only do we find BrainSTORMING here but a literal STORM too!
It’s where the most conflict occurs. Group members tend to butt heads, personalities and ideas clash… whilst there is a struggle for power and authority, I think that the main is that of acceptance. Not only acceptance of people and positions but more importantly, acceptance of ideas… ideas and strategies regarding how the group’s goals and objectives should be accomplished. Even before this though, is acceptance of a common goal! the group must agree on what they are working towards and who exactly will be leading them and in what capacity.
Others may disagree but I think that this is a critical part of “going through the motions”… with conflict come CREATIVITY :) and it is here you start to learn to work together… the synergy that the group needs to accomplish the goal begins to sprout. It should be noted though that many groups do not go beyond this stage. If leadership isn’t strong then conflict could lead to more confusion than creativity which could result in lack of motivation and low morale. This stage is the make or break stage… it’s either you have it or you don’t.
3. Norming- Just as the name says… things start to get … well.. normal! The people in the group start working together more effectively and naturally.
They have agreed on the goals and objectives, the strategies and tactics that will be used to accomplish them, the way in which the labour would be divided (based on strengths of course) and any issues/conflicts are resolved in a more efficient manner.
4. Performing- This is the “AUM” moment. Members understand how their role and function serves to form part of a bigger picture… it’s when everything starts to make sense… the group starts ,well, performing… moving as one unit, in sync with each other. It’s like a choir… there are lots of great soloists but when its time to serve up the platter you hear one voice… ONE VOICE! reminds me of that movie drumline with nick cannon and Zoe Saldana… in order for the team/group to function at its prime there must be - One voice, one heart, one soul.
Group work may not be my cup of tea but it has taught be a lot when it comes to dealing with people. Working in an organization we need to be tolerant of different personalities, understand that hey! conflict will arise sooo how should it be dealt with? Plus, you know what they say, “two (or three or four) minds are better than one”!
Working in groups is also a great way to meet new people and *network*.
But, the greatest lesson that I’ve learnt from working in groups is that of sacrifice and the art of listening. Sometimes you think you have a great idea! As a matter of fact a STELLAR idea and you want, by all means possible, to get this idea off the ground … but group work is not all about self… sometimes you have to realize and acknowledge that your idea may not be the best one for the project at hand and put it away for a while WITHOUT being mad or angry at the group. Sacrifice for a greater purpose.
It has also taught me the art of listening… we all hear but do we really listen? Listen to not only what’s said but what was left unsaid… paying attention to non verbal communication and taking hints/cues.
With that said,
May your groups be successful :)
One Perfect Love