For a project team to be effective, it is necessary to have representatives of all team roles.
The team role is a specific behavior that is inherent in a team member and has a specific contribution to the implementation of the team goal. It has been established that an effective team is one in which all team roles are present in a relatively balanced way.
We can briefly summarize 10 different professionals and their roles in the project and the project.
- Contact person
Before we look at the ten roles in more detail, it is useful to know that these are typical behaviors for three different types of people who have different contributions to teamwork. You may find similarity in the cross-functional teams in the Scrum framework, where the entire Scrum Team needs a full range of different skills to complete the project.
Three types of people
When talking about team roles, it is useful to look at people in terms of their main contribution to the team.
For example, there are people whose strongest trait is thinking. Other people are rather good at doing things and acting. There is also a third group of people who are the best in feeling, ie. in contacts and relationships with other people.
It can be said that there are three types of people:
- Thinking people
- Making people
- Sensitive people
The people in each of the three groups of people – thinking, doing, and feeling – are strong in certain areas and contribute in a specific way to the performance and success of the team. Accordingly, people in each of the three groups also have characteristic weaknesses.
The roles in the team can be visually presented through the three types of people.
Thinking people (thinking roles)
Thinking people are participants in the team, whose behavior in teamwork is oriented primarily to mental activity. Thinking people are very good at mental operations such as analysis, inference, induction, deduction, ideas, imagination, prediction, prediction, strategic thinking, abstractions, generalizations.
The thinking people in the team are the brain trust of the team. They differ from the other participants in the team with their ability to develop a vision for the future, to assess situations, to outline a problem that the team must tackle, offer options, to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions.
The thinking people in the team prefer the non-standard possibilities for solving such problems, which at first glance seem quite routine. They love challenges and often prefer to reach the team goal most effectively.
The contributions of thinking people in the team are:
They push the team forward towards the goal.
They protect the team from deviations, wrong moves, possible pitfalls, unrealistic expectations.
The group of thinking people includes three typical team roles – an idea person, an analyst, and a guide.
“Man-idea” is the participant in the team who is the most original among the other participants with his ideas, views, points of view, reflections. He has a rich imagination, ingenuity, and creativity.
The “idea man” has a new view of familiar things and can present them in a way that is radically different from the previous way. He can find the connection between things that at first glance are not related to each other, and he achieves this thanks to his highly developed associative thinking. The “man-idea” can explain a problem, process, event, phenomenon, specifying why this is happening and not something else.
The “idea man” prefers to work alone in most cases. He uses his rich imagination, high intellect, and much less often relies on previous experience. It is motivated by a highly developed need for self-realization. He often seeks feedback himself if his colleagues’ delay (or forget) to thank or praise him. He is sensitive to criticism.
The weaknesses of the team role “Man-idea” are his poor communication with those people who fail to understand his ideas. He is also inattentive to details, perhaps because the main idea is more important to him than the small details. It is affected by critics and people who do not appreciate its originality and non-standard view.
An “analyst” is that member of the team who examines every question, every situation, and every idea from every possible point of view to discover the hidden advantages and disadvantages.
The “analyzer” is not influenced by feelings. When he has to express an opinion, he is always objective, serious, at times quite critical, regardless of the good relations he maintains with his colleagues. The facts matter to the Analyst.
The weakness of the Analyst is that it generally works slower than the others and thus forces the team to go back to those issues that have already been discussed. When the team has deadlines, it becomes an obstacle. At the same time, he is accurate in his assessments. It is useful in assessing very carefully the pros and cons of each alternative.
The team can perceive the “Analyzer” as a “demotivator” that cools the enthusiasm of others, especially when the team is in a creative, creative process. His criticism is often perceived as “attacks” on others, especially in teams where the roles of the participants are not explained well enough and it is not clear who is strong in what, what he is responsible for, and what he contributes to.
“Guides” is this participant in a team who guides his colleagues, challenges them to action, offers goals himself, or spurs his colleagues to get involved in the common work.
The “guide” is highly motivated by the need for achievement and is a person full of energy. He likes to influence others, to leave a trace behind, and is especially active in the decision-making process.
The “guide” does an excellent job of setting goals, priorities. He is not worried about barriers, obstacles, or people whose behavior in any way hinders the work process. He has detours and defends the goal. He struggles to achieve it at all costs, often regardless of the means he uses. He insists on his colleagues to do the same.
That is why people in the team often perceive the “Guide” as a self-confident, daring, intolerant, impatient person, but in practice the team needs him. He differs from the role of “Chairman” (more about it below) in that he is persistent and impatient and uses firmer approaches in leadership.
The weaknesses of the “Guide” are impatience, intolerance, uncompromising attitude to everything that hinders and slows down the process of teamwork. In the eyes of people who are accustomed to thinking long and hard, the “Guide” can be aggressive and rude.
When the team is already working well (in more advanced stages of its development), the presence of a participant who acts as a typical “Guide” acts destructively rather than constructively. In such cases, the other participants believe that the “Guide” destroys the good team atmosphere, which they hold dear to be able to work effectively.
Making people (making roles)
Making people are members of the team, whose behavior is mainly oriented to the actions that the team can complete in the exact agreed time, can work well and create a quality team product, and thanks to this to achieve its team goal.
The behavior of the people making is oriented towards the fulfillment of the tasks, towards the creation of a plan with practical actions, towards the deadlines, towards the implementation of the idea, instead of towards its creative construction.
The strengths of the people making are the organization, practical thinking, their performance, their expert knowledge in a specific field. For example, doing people always show up when team discussions get stuck when the team is fussing about what to start with and how to continue their work.
Making people always have a plan of action, create the organization of the task. They work carefully, accurately, do not get bored, they are responsible to fulfill the commitment with quality and on time, they work out every detail so as not to miss anything from the preliminary plan.
The contributions of the people making to the team are:
They create motivation among their colleagues so that the team can progress towards the team goal.
They organize the work and strictly control their implementation.
The group of making people includes three typical team roles – practitioner, performer, and expert.
“Practitioner” is the participant in a team that best of all other participants successfully manages to draw up a plan with specific steps. He also has organizational skills, transforming the planned actions into practical work procedures.
The “practitioner” is a disciplined person, a realist, has common sense and pragmatic thinking. His team trusts not only because of his abilities but also because he is the best organizer among colleagues.
In his work, the practitioner insists on a clear goal, clear norms, and procedures of work. If by chance there are none, the “Practitioner” insists that everyone gets involved in the process of creating a goal, norms, and work procedures. Prefers a sustainable way of working, routine, and order. Therefore, when someone offers a new idea (for example, the Idea Man or the Contact Person), they do not always feel comfortable.
The weakness of the “Practitioner” is its relatively low flexibility. After establishing organization and order in the performance of the team task, the “Practitioner” usually does not like to give in if his colleagues insist on any changes. The “Practitioner” is especially uncompromising in terms of budget and deadlines for implementation.
“Contractor” is the participant in a team whose behavior is most action-oriented – quality work, accuracy, elimination of other people’s mistakes.
What is specific about the behavior of the “Contractor” is that he relies mainly on himself. He prefers to do something alone instead of delegating. He does so even when he notices that one of his colleagues has made a mistake. He is so committed to the strict execution of the work that he fears what would happen if someone else took over.
The “contractor” is useful for the team because it is committed to high-quality work. He works very precisely, checks several times, strives to constantly adhere to already established rules, standards, instructions.
If he notices indifference to the tasks, the “Contractor” openly declares that he does not like it. He is very responsible for his promises. The reliable hands of the “Contractor” transform the ideas of the “Idea Man” and the “Contact Man” into reality.
One of the weaknesses of the “Contractor” is that he does not tolerate people who do not care about the work, are indifferent, work carelessly or inaccurately. Another weakness is that he sometimes tends to work slower. The weaknesses of the “Contractor” worry the other members of the team, although they know how useful he is with his qualities.
“Expert” is the team member who has the most (of all other participants) experience, expertise, proven practical skills in a particular professional field, and thus contributes the most to the achievement of the team goal.
What is specific about the Expert’s behavior is that he is always confident in what he says and what he does. He is very well informed about news and facts in the field in which he works. He speaks convincingly and instills genuine confidence in his colleagues. There are rare cases in which someone would doubt the advice or information that the “Expert” gives.
The contribution of the “Expert” to the implementation of the team goal is that he provides the team with rare specialized knowledge and skills for the product that the team wants to create.
The weaknesses of the “Expert” are its straightforwardness and intransigence from the positions expressed by him. This often worries teammates who want to comment, even though they are not experts.
Sensitive people (feeling roles)
Sensitive people are members of a team whose behavior is primarily oriented to perceptions, feelings, and emotions (own and others’), as well as the interpretation of feelings and emotions.
The strengths of sentient people are:
Sense and understanding of one’s own and others’ behavior.
Participation in interactive communication.
Sensitive people in the team strive to feel (understand) what the mood of colleagues, do what is necessary to guide the team to cooperation, mutual assistance, cooperation.
Sensitive people know how to be empathetic and thanks to this they understand the thoughts, emotions, and attitudes of their colleagues much better than thinking and doing people. They have expressive communication – they speak effectively, persuade with enviable ease, listen actively, argue flawlessly.
Therefore, sensitive people manage to establish and maintain useful contacts, both inside and outside the team.
The contributions of sentient people are:
- They drive the processes of cooperation, mutual assistance, and cooperation, without which teamwork is ineffective.
- They contribute most of all in the team to creating and maintaining a positive atmosphere in the team.
- The group of sentient people includes three typical team roles – Contact Person, Teammate, and Merchant.
7. Contact person
“Contact person” is the participant in the team, whose behavior is oriented towards the successful construction and maintenance of a network of contacts regarding resources, creation or presentation of the team product.
The “contact person” is not a source of new and original ideas, as is the “Idea Man”, but he can select and develop ideas. He is a stronger extrovert than the “Idea Man” and has a warm and friendly attitude towards others.
The typical thing for the “Contact Person” is to attract ideas from outside the team, to add interesting suggestions and to put them together. It often plays a key role in project teams working on innovative projects.
At the same time, the “Contact Person” is useful for the team in that it can find the necessary resources, information, people in the company or outside it, which are necessary and important to deal with the team task. He can negotiate and is skilled in face-to-face communication as well as on the phone.
Another distinguishing feature of the “Contact person” is his adaptability – he is often able to find a way out of any situation. The team relies on it in cases where it needs to obtain information or resources.
Although there is a certain inconsistency in the work of the “Contact person”, he is very valuable for the team with his qualities and behavior.
“Teammate” is the team member who does the best of all other participants in creating and maintaining informal relationships within the team.
The “teammate” works easily with people, even when his ideas and views on work differ from theirs. He supports the strong performances of his colleagues and helps when they show some weaknesses.
The “teammate” is empathetic and concerned about the problems and feelings of his colleagues. He is loved for his sociability, empathy, and communication with others. He does not dominate the others but tries to listen, to advise, to act collegially, to adhere to the good tone.
The teammate’s contributions to the team goal are in the field of team relations. Thanks to him, the team can have an atmosphere of respect, respect for the individual, honest and loyal relationships.
When there is a tense and burdensome atmosphere in the team, the “Teammate” uses his typical techniques – humor, encouraging words, listening carefully to the disputing parties, recalls team norms and emphasizes morality in the relationship.
The weaknesses of the “Teammate” are that he avoids tension and conflicts at all costs. By constantly appealing to understanding and mutual respect, it is possible to provoke the so-called “Latent conflicts” (smoldering conflicts). Reference: Conflict management in BVOP.org
9. Project Team Member – Trader
“Trader” is the participant in a team that handles the best of all other participants in the team with negotiations inside and outside the team. Thanks to this behavior, he manages to orient his colleagues to the list of tasks, deadlines, resources that the team should acquire, and more.
The “trader” is extremely good at negotiating – conducting discussions in the team, clarifying opinions, persuasion.
Thanks to his very good communication skills (speaking, listening, understanding other people’s behavior, empathy, persuasion, presenting his ideas, argumentation, etc.), the “Trader” summarizes and paraphrases the words of his colleagues during working meetings of the team. and proposes them again for discussion. He manages to persuade his colleagues to unite around a certain alternative.
The “trader” is useful for the team goal because it manages to unite the team around a consensus solution.
Unlike “Teammate”, who tries not to spoil the good relations and atmosphere in the team, “Trader” manages to reconcile and unite the people in the team by negotiating the common interest – the implementation of the team goal.
10. Chairman – the unifying tenth role
“Chairman” is the team member who, most strongly of all other team members, manages to integrate the efforts and results of the work of the three types of people in the team (thinking, feeling, and doing) in one whole, thanks to which the team copes successfully with its goal.
The “chairman” of a team is a special participant in the team. He brings together and directs the other nine team roles. His contribution to achieving the team goal is key.
The role of “Chairman” combines managerial and leadership behavior.
The activities of the role of “Chairman” are:
Creates a favorable internal environment of the team – determines independently (or together with the participants in the team) what is the goal that the team should fulfill; works to involve and empathize team members with the goal; helps everyone trust each other; sets team norms independently or directs participants to discuss this topic; clarifies and then focuses the mechanism of team decision making.
Assists in providing a suitable external environment for the team – participate in the team, which pre-plans the necessary changes in the company in connection with the implementation of teamwork; supports the empowerment and support process; advises on building the team’s relationships with other units inside and outside the company; recommends appropriate cultural changes, changes in human resource management systems.
Assists the team with advice on how to secure their resources – information, money, people, raw materials, and supplies.
Manages team effectiveness through internal team processes of rationing, decision making, communication, conflict resolution; helps to correct the behavior of the team in case of deviations from efficiency.
Assists team members personally and collectively by advising, mentoring, training, evaluating, and retraining to correct participants’ behavior toward their strongest roles and contributions.
It is good if the formal team manager (management team or work team) has strong performances in the role of “Chairman”. If this is not the case, consideration should be given to developing and improving the skills inherent in the “Chairman”.
The manager who performs poorly as a “Chairman” hinders the work of the team, its efficiency is not high and the team finds it more difficult to cope with its goal.