Week 3: Map, Compass & Navigation
Week 3 in Kristiansand, Norway, and we all started off by gathering at our usual meeting point outside Spicheren; and from there we walked up to Jegersberg and discussed what our tasks consisted of for that day. The task which was initiated by the Norwegian students was a navigation task which involved being split up into roughly groups of around 5/6 (two Norwegian students were appointed to each group); and we had to take it in turns to navigate to 6 points in Jegersberg. Where a piece of paper containing a mark from an orienteering map had to be identified and presented to the Norwegian students at the end of the task.
The task itself proved relatively easy for everybody in my group, as they reacted more positively to the map reading when navigating and when it came to identifying the markings for the task. With this being said, this allowed me to identify the slight push into the storming phase of Tuckman’s model where my colleagues started to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage (Tuckman, 1965). Allowing team members to take more authority when it came to individually leading the team to the next marker on the map. It is apparent from this that the storming stage is often triggered from a clash between different team members working styles; where colleagues may apply different working methods for all sorts of different reasons, and if these ‘styles’ cause unforeseen problems within the group, it can result in diminishing that ‘group cohesion’ (Tuckman, 1965). This theory was identified in my group as the task lead to a few disagreements, whilst other members took a few steps back and allowed the people who put themselves forward as ‘leaders’ to take control of the task when it might not have been viewed as the correct choice at the time. Myself as an example was not the correct choice for conducting this orienteering task as it was a race against time, and I felt that I was slowing the team down due to my inexperience conducting map work which lead to a couple of disagreements in the group. Fortunately, Richard stepped in and applied a ‘participative’ leadership style approach in order to help me finish the task. Participative leadership values the input of team members and helps boost your ‘morale’ when it comes to contributing to the decision making process; allowing me to feel that my ‘opinions matter’ in the group (Johnson, n.d.). This worked out really well, as it allowed me to orienteer a map correctly through the experience of another colleague, advising me to always look at my surroundings to help identify our location on the map. Resulting in successfully finding our marker with time to spare.
Even though this task proved difficult for me at the start, it was evident that Richards contribution to helping me developed team and task cohesion. Cohesion is the process reflected upon for a group to stick together and remain strong in pursuit to fulfilling their goals and objectives (Carron, Bray & Eyes, 2002); and task cohesion relates to how well the team members work together to achieve them goals. Which is something that was demonstrated as my colleagues realised that working together, involving and helping everyone in our team to find each marker made every aspect of cohesion work better; which made the task more enjoyable and worthwhile. Which goes to show that if there is no team cohesion, the task is is viewed as improbable. We eventually finished this task and came in second place, which as a team we were proud off as we could take a lot of positives away from the task; and a lot which I can reflect on to further develop my skills for future weeks.
After lunch we played a Matching Game; where we had to work as a team to match symbols from a map to their correct name.
Second game was a Navigation Game; where we were all blind folded and we had to turn and face the direction which was called (North, East, South & West)
Connect Four; where all teams competed against each other.
Finally, a Throwing game; where we had to spin around a log ten times and try to throw four stones into buckets, each bucket awarding a certain amount of points.
Based on the outcomes of the tasks I am able to walk away with a better understanding on how to orienteer a map which will prove significant when we go on our weekly excursions. Based on my slim knowledge on Outdoor studies, I am still not confident enough to lead a group but I continue to sit back, learn and observe my colleagues ‘lead’ sessions in the hope to further develop my skills, as I feel that ‘learning by doing’ will prove difficult for me.
When I reflect on the overall outcomes of the day I realise that team and task cohesion is important and they are the fundamentals to creating a positive working environment. The bond between the international students and the Norwegians has grown significantly from previous weeks (increasing social cohesion); and it will be interesting to see how much this improves more when the international students lead the Monday sessions later on.
Tuckman, B. (1965) Bruce Tuckman’s Team Development Model [Internet]. Available from file:///Users/Phil/Downloads/bruce_tuckman_s_stages_of_team_development_.pdf [Accessed 30th January 2017].
Carron, A. V., Bray, S. R. & Eyes, M. A. (2002) Team cohesion and team success in sport. Journal of Sport Sciences, 20 (2), pp. 119-126.
Johnson, R. (n.d.) 5 Different Types of Leadership Styles [Internet]. Available from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-different-types-leadership-styles-17584.html [Accessed 30th January 2017].