Often called Mourning in order to rhyme better with the other team development phases (Tuckman, 1965), Adjourning is a real phase and requires real attention.
I’m currently leaving one team and definitely have the feels because it’s over. We worked well together. We had our ups and downs. Luckily more ups than downs. But regardless, we came through the rough patches stronger and more productive (exactly as Tuckman suggests through the first four phases of forming, storming, norming and performing). Now that it’s over, I am sad. I’m excited for the next thing, but I’m also sad to leave.
If left unaddressed, this feeling of nostalgia, melancholy and gloom may linger and potentially impact future endeavours if I don’t get a sense of closure. This is true for all teams who are ending. If their feelings about the disbanding of the team are not addressed, there can be some long-lasting harmful effects. So, what to do…
6 Tips for addressing the Adjourning Phase:
- Recognise the ending for what it is – an ending
Instead of pretending that the end isn’t really the end. Recognise that it is.
“We won’t be working together (so closely) anymore”.
“This is coming to a close. We will all be moving on”.
“This space, physical or metaphysical, will not be here anymore, even it is about to change”.
- Acknowledge the loss