We’re currently doing a five-week series on the stages of group development as outlined by Tuckman and Jensen (1977). We’ve discovered what happens when groups form, the tumultuous times that can happen when groups storm and how they balance out and norm. Today we’re going to explore the Performing Stage of group development.
According to Barnes (2002:43) you can identify a group in the performing stage by the following indicators:
- The group is able to be task-focused instead of focusing on personal issues
- They’re able to work effectively together and individually on tasks
- The group has a leader and clearly defined roles and structure
- They’re excited to work on tasks and exhibit pride in their work
The nice thing about working with a youth group in the performing stage is that they require less supervision. You’re able to answer questions and maybe offer ideas, but overall you don’t need to hold their hands any longer.
A group in the performing stage has probably been working together a while and have ‘come in to their own’ as a team. The leader is able to lead, the other members of the team are able to accomplish their tasks and, for the most part, everyone does this with minimal disruption to the overall goal and group.
When working with a youth group in the performing stage just remember…
1) Developing – You will need to continue developing their skills so that they don’t stagnate and end up back in the norming stage where there is minimal progress.
2) Changing – They will probably not stay in this ‘perfect’ place for very long. A new member may join the group and/or an older member may move on. This affects the group and causes the dynamics to revert to some of the earlier stages of group development. This is natural, so be prepared and prepare your group.
3) Ending – The group will end eventually. At some point the group will change, grow, move on and close. It may not happen right away but when it does, closure is important. We’ll talk about how to successfully close a youth group next week as we explore the final stage of group development – the Adjourning stage.
Question: What is your favorite part of the performing stage of youth group development? Has your group ever been an effective and functioning team? What did they accomplish? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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