Home Concepts Strategy Coaching with Groups and Teams The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

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At one of the pig roasts, one of us in attendance [WB] personally heard from one of the descendants of the person who founded our community (during the 18th Century). The tales she told were absolutely entrancing and quite informative. When a group is being formed, storytelling can be quite valuable, both as a means of helping members feel included (as both the storytellers and listeners) and as a means of finding out more about the backgrounds and perspectives that each member is bringing to the group (valuable as the group moves to becoming a Team).

Finally, the pig roast has been a fun event and one that produces great food. Though the personal need for inclusion is not high for the one of us attending the roast [WB], this yearly event is eagerly anticipated. Hopefully, the early activities of a group that is convened to perform some important (and serious) task can also suggest that the group will be a source of fun, interpersonal enjoyment – and maybe even an occasional bit of delicious food (or at least some donuts and coffee).

There are also many challenges associates with meeting the need for inclusion among members of a group—especially if this group is to become a Team. We will specifically explore three barriers and frame them as group phenomena: (1) the burnout phenomenon, (2) the betrayal phenomenon and (3) the newcomer phenomenon. We first look at burnout.

The Burnout Phenomenon usually involves low proactive (expressed) and reactive (wanted) Inclusion scores (Schutz, 1994). We have found in our consulting and training that a drop in inclusion score can be precipitated by extensive amount of group work—especially when the group has been ineffective or riff with conflict. When an organization is structured around seasons (such as an academic year, sales year or entertainment cycle), it is often the case that inclusion scores drop off near the end of a yearly cycle.

Lower scores are also often found at the end of an exhaustive Team project (even if the Team has been successful). Many people are simply “sick and tired” of group meetings – and they need a respite from meetings (a meeting sabbatical). What happens in organizations that have no seasons or those organizations that primary operate in the same way every day? There are no special projects. When does the fatigue and burnout set in or is it an ongoing phenomenon?

The Betrayal Phenomenon: low Inclusion Scores can be precipitated by the shattering of an important relationship (such as the enactment of a divorce) or, in a group, by the shattering of the established way in which the group operates. Everyone wants out of the group and there is little desire to be included in any form or at any time in the foreseeable future.

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