June of 2015 marked the end of my career in South Korea as I prepared to move on to my next endeavour – Bangladesh. On my last year in my previous job, I worked with a leadership team composed of three heads of divisions and three curriculum coordinators. I would say that the large part of the group has moved through Tucker’s stages of team building while there are quite a few who chose to be independent outside the team. Those who have bonded together have gone through the stage all the stages until we separated ways by the end of the school year. A few months were spent sensing on what work ethics we each had and the teaching pedagogy we individually espouse. In the end, coming up with the goals based on what the team needs to work on to deliver a cohesive program that would cater for our students from early years to high school brought us together. Although the norming stage took a while, having a clear understanding of who we are individually and as a group helped us pass through the storming stage more swiftly that we all first imagined. Respect of the work that we all do and cognizantof the efforts that we give in each of our divisions enabled us to work together. As we entered into the norming stage, hours of our meetings were dedicated to exhaustive discussions that also included disagreements and arguments that were resolved as we revisited the purpose of why we are working together. Having a clear vision and a commitment from the members of the team to look at the same direction allowed us to perform by making decisions and taking actions based upon those decisions. In the end, the school was re-accredited by the institution that was supposed to legitimise the credibility of the school in terms of international standards.
As we realised the completion of our goal, it was time for us to move to different places. The team learned a lot from the mistakes and tensions encountered, but having the same vision and commitment made all our efforts successful in the end. Adjourning the team was quite emotional, as we have already forged relationships in the process, but knowing that we can still come across each other in one way or another is a positive thought to keep. The experiences we all have ventured upon have sharpened our skills in creating a collaborative team. All those that we have earned and gained will again be shared in the new experiences we are about to make. Being able to keep in touch with each other gives us the opportunity to relive our working memories and assure each other that as we get into another cycle of Tucker’s stages of team development, we will know how to pass through each stage.
Parallel to this is the experience of growing with the groups in the Masters program that allowed for a lot of collaboration. Although connections were made virtually, relationships were formed from the interactions throughout the courses. Although how each respected, responded and reciprocated efforts to reach out through discussions and blog posts vary in different degrees, they all helped us achieve the goals of every course. It makes me wonder though if the storming stage was an easier stage to pass because the channels of interaction were based on the ideas conveyed through writing and that there were no gestures and facial expressions that could have made the communication complex. As well, having colleagues who willingly divulged personal and professional experiences strengthened the trust that enabled us to achieve the goals of the course. We are about to reach the adjourning stage again in the Communication course, but it is a great thought to realize that we have all grown from the experience together and have added a new set of skills that we can share with our future teams.
Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: A case study. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-five-stages-of-team-development-a-case-study.html
O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.