What are the roles that need to be covered in a team? Ideas, criticism, support, and more. It starts with observation.
- So what are the roles that need to be covered in a team? Well, you'd probably immediately think that you'll need a leader, an ideas person, maybe someone to do the detail. Then it gets a bit harder to think about. There are a number of theories about ways that team members contribute to a team, and if you combine them I think you get a list something like the one I'm going to give you in a moment. I've divided it into four. I divide it into management functions, someone on the team needs to organize things, think longer term, etcetera, people functions, obviously, it's a team, creativity functions, if the team has got to achieve something new then these are important, and finally, doing the work roles, someone's got to get on and actually do that work.
And by the way you can download a list of the following team functions from the exercise files that go with this course. So we've got four areas, and within each of the areas there are four team roles that I've identified. So, within the management area, there are actually four roles that need to be fulfilled by someone in the team. And the first one is the organizer. The organizer of people and of ideas. Somebody who's going to keep everything neat and tidy. The second management role is the driver. This is the person who's pushing for speed and results, who's thinking about time, making sure we meet those deadlines.
You can see that could be a different type of person from the organizer. The third management role is the visionary. This is maybe a bit of a detached thinker type person, they have a higher view, a longer term view. And then fourthly there's the inspirer. This is the person who builds up people, who coaches individuals and makes them into better people. So those are the four management roles, and just to stress that all four of these could be done by the same person if they were a really exceptional leader. Or perhaps by two or three or even four different people in the team.
Next we come to the four people roles. The first one of these is the networker. This is the person who loves meeting new people, collecting new ideas. Probably a talkative person, maybe not that organized, but great for exploring new areas. The second people role is the supporter. Perhaps a quieter, more caring person. They're the ones who see the good in other people's ideas, and say, "Yeah, Tony's come up with a good idea there, "I think we should listen to him about that." Thirdly you've got the humor and fun generator.
And this is more than just a luxury extra. A friend of mine runs a recruitment company, and he won't employ anyone who doesn't have this feature. If somebody's not a fun, cheerful person, he doesn't want to employ them. And it is a really fun place to work, although I do have a slight worry that if you always recruit for that, it might exclude other features which the team needs, like detail focus and thinking about what might go wrong, and they're both coming up in a minute. My final people person is the carer, who spots if people are unhappy.
So this is going to be a very observant, sensitive type of person. So that's the four people roles. Now moving on to my third category, creativity and problem solving. And again, I think there are four roles to be fulfilled within this area. The first one is the creative type. This is the person who generates the ideas from somewhere within their mind, and I really admire people who can do this. They produce completely new ideas. Second you have the convergent thinker, and their role is to judge and select the best answer, select the best ideas generated by the creative person.
Then you've got the opposer, this is the devil's advocate, who says, "But what if that isn't right? How do we know it's right?" This is the person who makes sure that the first idea isn't always chosen, because often the best idea can be the second or third one. And finally you've got the black hat wearer, and this is the person who thinks about what might go wrong. The expression black hat comes Edward de Bono's theory of colored hats, and my favorite one is the black hat wearer. And he said that somebody should imagine that they're wearing a black hat, and that their job is to think what could be wrong with this plan? Often the black hat wearer is regarded as being a bit miserable, a bit negative, and may not be very popular with the team, but certainly somebody has to wear the invisible black hat.
You need somebody thinking about what might go wrong. And then finally, the four work roles. And the first of the work roles is the detail person who makes sure that everything is exactly right, very important role, somebody has to cover that. The second of the work roles is the analyzer. This is the person who's good with theories, ideas. They're good with complex problems. They want to really understand things. Often engineers are very good at this. The third of the work roles is the systems thinker.
This is the detached type person who stands back and organizes the system, sets it up so that everything is going to run smoothly. And the final one of my 16 roles I've called the stayer. This is the person who's really good with those routine, repetitive tasks. They're very patient. They've got staying power to keep just banging away at that one task. They don't get the glory, but they're really important in any team. Now of course you probably won't have a team as large as 16, so you'll each need to do several of the roles I've been listing.
So, there's a copy of this list in your exercise files for you to download. Have a look at the list, and think about which ones are you good at. And also think about, what are the gaps in your current team. And remember that if there is a gap, there're really only two options: either somebody in the team has got to make the effort to cover that gap, and it may not be their primary natural role that they would naturally want to do, but somebody's got to cover that gap, or you need to pull somebody in, recruit a new person or borrow someone from another department to join that team to naturally fill that gap.
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- Getting the job done
- Dividing up the work
- Cultivating communication
- Handling conflict
- Delivering reliably
- Playing more than one role
- Using your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses