It’s finally summer!
That means nice weather, a break from classes, vacations, extra time with friends, and if you’re like me lots of time on the water.
For student organizations these three months “off” are some of the most important of the year. It’s a time for planning, training, and coming together for student organization officer teams. It’s when they really set the foundation for the year to come.
When I was a chapter FFA officer our big prep time as a team was a summer officer retreat with seven local chapters. We would go to a camp ground for a few days for some leadership training, project planning, team bonding, and intense games of spoons every night (The CFC officers dominated of course!).
But the big question is, why are these summer months so important to your team?
Your student officer team is mad up of outstanding leaders. Each with their own unique personality. For your team to perform at high levels, all these personalities need to come together.
This is not an easy task. People will disagree. Personalities will clash. There will be conflict.
Conflict in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact it is an essential part of all high performing teams. The important thing is to realize its place in helping teams grow.
Yes, you read that right teams grow. They don’t just come together and instantly start churning out results. There is a process of development.
There are actually five stages of development that every high performing student leadership team goes through.
Here are the Stages of Group Development:
- Forming – A new student leadership team is just coming together. This stage is all about Trying to find my place.
- Storming – Differences and suppressed tensions from being overly nice in the forming stage come to the surface. The claws are out. This stage is about Testing the boundaries and trying to find my voice.
- Norming – The tension is gone. Comfort sets in. Being a part of the student officer team is a self identifier now. This stage is about Being comfortable as a team.
- Performing – The team starts really focuses on accomplishing goals and helping each other develop personally. This stage is all about Getting things done.
- Adjourning – All things must come to an end. As a student organization leader your year ends fast. This stage is about Transitioning to what’s next.
In future posts I will dive into more specifics about each of these stages.
The reason the summer months are essential to a student organization officer team is not because of the planning for the year (though that is helpful). The reason is that this is where teams begin the stages of development. A summer officer retreat is a great time to begin to create those solid bonds that can carry you through the tough times of the year (Like the whole month of February).
Whether you go on a formal team retreat or just get together with your teammates for a movie at your house, be sure to spend time this summer focused on creating strong relationships with your teammates.
Question: What activity do you enjoy doing with your team? Leave a comment below.