9 Essential Roles to Improve Team Productivity
In a previous blog post, we gave you our top tips for running effective online meetings, whether on Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime.
Today, we’re going to dig into the workings of a team--what’s the best way to get the group working together so you can get the job done and maintain healthy relationships throughout?
You’re probably familiar with the dreaded group projects from high school. The teacher says “get into groups” and it’s all downhill from there. Maybe you were the one who had to pull the team when no one did their part. Maybe you were the team member who had no idea what they were supposed to do.
This breakdown in team dynamics is often caused by a lack of communication and poor delegation of tasks. When roles and responsibilities are delegated properly in a group, each team member has a purpose and a goal to work towards in the group. Rather than sitting around and waiting for someone to tell them what to do next, they might feel more inspired and motivated to play their role in the project.
Plus, this allows the head of the group (whether it’s you or someone else) to have more time to work on other things! Instead of having your team constantly coming back to you for their next task, giving them a specific role will free up that time for you. Having group roles that interact with each other also encourages better team-building, as group members will communicate with each other to work on the project instead of turning to you whenever they’re facing a challenge.
Let’s get into it--What Can You Do To Oil The Gears of Your Project Group?
Group roles can be divided into 4 main categories:
- Procedural Roles: maintain a system of rules or workflows to help the group operate at its best.
- Task Roles: in charge of components which keep the group on track to finishing their project.
- Social-Emotional Roles: keep relationships healthy between group members, balancing emotional needs.
- Individual Roles: as the name suggests, they are counterproductive to the group. They often distract the group instead of supporting the group.
Here are 9 essential roles you need in any group project to ensure your team is well on its way to productive meetings and accomplishments!
(Note: if you have a smaller team, one person can play two roles where needed.)
1. Facilitator (Procedural Role)
This role is often played by the “leader” of the group. The facilitator makes sure everyone knows what they’re doing, and oversees the whole project. They help with big-picture issues, such as coordinating other roles, delegation of tasks, and spearheading the project.
2. Scribe (Procedural Role)
Similar to a secretary, the scribe takes down notes from every group meeting or conversation for later reference. Choose someone who pays close attention to detail and takes special care to ensure accuracy. These notes will be useful to remind the group of what’s been discussed, agreed upon, and put into motion.
3. Timekeeper (Procedural Role)
The timekeeper makes sure that all meetings start and end on time. They also coordinate everyone’s schedules, planning meetings only when everyone is available. They might also be in charge of enforcing deadlines on different steps of the project, checking in with people to make sure that things are up to schedule.
4. Implementer (Task Role)
The implementer of the group gets the ball rolling. Whether it’s a brainstorming session, a new section of the project, or just a conversation, the implementer takes the first step. They’re not afraid to speak first, and they introduce the project and get the show on the road. You may have a few implementers in your group, depending on the size of your project!
5. Researcher (Task Role)
Working closely with the implementer, the researcher digs up relevant information to present to the team. They’re often the one who “looks into” things, or explores new options when the team seems to hit a rut. Usually curious and inquisitive, their investigations into new avenues help the team approach the project from different angles. Like implementers, there may be a few researchers in a group.
6. Devil’s Advocate (Task Role)
This role is not for the faint of heart! This person has to look at the project from an outside perspective and argue from the angle of an opponent. They must come up with as many possible responses to the projects they can--would people be offended? Would they object to the material? This strengthens the project, as the devil’s advocate would find weak spots in the project or presentation which can then be fixed.
7. Checker (Task Role)
Before finalizing a project, the checker does a final look to make sure everything is in place. This could be proofreading, fact-checking, finalizing dates and updating numbers. If anything is amiss, the checker goes back to the implementer or researcher for that section and works through it again.
8. Encourager (Social Role)
The encourager, as a social role, makes sure that everyone has a chance to speak in group conversations. They take note of who hasn’t spoken yet, and might nudge quieter members to add their opinions and input into group discussion. They find helpful aspects in each person’s contributions in order to keep the group positive.
9. Compromiser Social Role
Finally, you should have a compromiser. This person isn’t the “judge” of who’s right and wrong in a conflict, but instead they try to compromise to keep the group together. They may suggest new perspectives and new ways to try something in order to work through a situation. Compromisers maintain group unity and social connections.
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