Team Development Tool B

How to identify the team roles we need to be effective

There are some easily identifiable team behaviours that line managers value in their teams – for example: ‘providing ideas’, or ‘looking after the details’, or ‘summarising progress’, or ‘finishing the job’. These are team roles – not the same as your work role or your objectives.

That does not mean every team member has to provide all these team working roles – that would be impossible. It also does not mean that each team member should have the same roles – that would be a very one-dimensional team, which might be very hard to manage!

These team roles are typically individuals’ own natural preferences, and each of us may have several of these roles as preferences.

Each of us can develop our range to tackle areas of limitation within our preferences – but it is most effective to build on strengths in the first place.

It is worth considering as a line manager what the team’s strengths and limitations are in terms of the important roles – this is useful information when it comes to planning individual development, or sub-team work, or taking stock of effectiveness, or recruiting for vacancies.

One model (Belbin team roles) suggests that to be fully effective there are nine team working roles, which need to be represented in a team. That does not mean each team should have nine members! It does not mean some roles are more important than others. However, the organisation’s working culture, or the line manager’s own preferences, may reward or recognise or be biased in favour of some team roles.

For the line manager to consider:

For individuals –

·         Which roles are individuals’ preferred roles?

·         Which are individuals’ least preferred roles?

For the team as a whole –

·         Which roles are well represented?

·         Which roles are under-represented? How do we know?

·         Which roles naturally link with – or are in conflict with – other roles? With what impact?

·         Which roles look ‘inwards’ at the team; which roles look ‘outwards’ beyond the team?

Team Development Tool C

Twenty questions addressing the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the team’s work

The line manager can use this tool as a group or one-to-one exercise, or face-toface, or at a distance to provide the personal responses of the individuals in your team, and to discuss the issues. The responses make up a snapshot and the process can be repeated – some answers will change over time as new challenges develop, and as people join or leave the team.

The tool is intended to provide a forum to explore shared understanding of valuable areas that make the team effective. It is not intended to be run a ‘pass/fail’ compliance test.

The line manager’s next steps may be to communicate and build understanding, or there may be specific areas to address across the team, or specific individuals to work with. Responses can be used to clarify what your team ‘offers’ to the rest of the organisation.

1. I am clear about my individual role in this team. What is it?

2. What do I believe is the primary purpose of this team?

3. Who are the team’s clients?

4. Who are the main internal and external stakeholders this team works with?

5. What are the key priorities for the team so that we achieve our purpose?

6. Specific results the team must deliver are………….?

7. Today …………..result areas are on track, and ………….are not

8. By the end of the year,…………..results will be achieved, ………….results are uncertain, and…………..results are at serious risk

9. The actions we are taking to reduce the risk of failure are…………………..?

10. We can build on the following opportunities to enhance our performance…………..?

11. Progress against the team’s improvement projects will deliver these benefits…………?

12. To support my colleagues’ performance, I will…………?

13. What is the team good at – the team’s strengths? Are we acting to keep doing these?

14. What is the team not good at – the team’s limitations? Are we addressing these?

15. How effectively are decisions made in the team?

16. How effectively is conflict and failure handled within the team?

17. How effectively is success and recognition handled in the team?

18. How far do I feel able to express my views openly in the team?

19. What is not discussed, or is even unmentionable in the team?

20. What needs to be different in this team, and why?

Team Development Tool D

Learning Style and Diversity Valuing and working effectively with diversity is a challenge for the line manager. It’s also true that diversity is a stimulus that provides great energy. Diversity can be expressed in a range of ways, including nationality, faith, tribe, language, politics, status, power, poverty, age, health, mobility, specific physical conditions, sexuality and gender.

There will be ‘organisational’ diversity in terms of functional role and job level, and including other stakeholders and partners, consultants and contractors. Depending on the setting, some aspects of diversity will be common and predictable, and the line manager needs strategies to work with the expected range. There will always be diversity in terms of personal preference and personality. One example of difference in personal preference is Learning Styles:

All these styles can be equally effective…and in a team it is useful to have all styles represented. Do not polarise some styles as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. However, some functional teams or organisations can be more comfortable with, favour or reward some styles – explicitly or implicitly.

Line managers have their own preferred styles, and your own preferences can influence how effectively you work with different teams and individuals.

Build your capability to work with all learning styles as you find them represented in the teams you line manage. Provide different ways of working that will build on these different preferences: for example in the way that meetings are chaired, or in the time you allow for a new strategy or plan to be developed, or the way you ask for reactions to a report.

Related Posts

© 2023 Project Management - Theme by WPEnjoy · Powered by WordPress