Team Role FAQs: Poor Use Of Team Roles
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Team Role FAQs: Poor Use of Team Roles

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What are the ‘tell-tale signs’ of when a team’s poor performance is due to poor use of team roles?

One problem sign is often the phrase “that’s the way I am” or similar.  Team members ask others to accept them as they are.

Whilst there always has to be an acceptance of people’s difference, it has to be a process of give and take, and not just take.  Often, when I’ve heard someone in a team use the phrase that I’ve just quoted, problems in that team have emerged.  When one individual asserts their own style, everyone else has to adapt around it and it becomes a team handicap.  Instead of concentrating on achieving their team goals, they have to give a lot of time and attention to how they integrate the individual who won’t flex.

Another sign is when there is a lot of enthusiasm, not for what the team does but the way they do it.  Poor performing teams/managers/members sometimes overuse a team role because they enjoy it so much.

Another sign is when there is a lack of diversity, where the team don’t feel they have permission or don’t know how to act differently to their habitual mode (due to the absence of training or role models).  Or perhaps they have such a strong culture that they feel compelled to use it.

The main characteristic that underlies all these is that the team role being used is not and ideal fit to the circumstances.  When a team is failing to adapt in the best way they may not recognize it because they are so convinced of the validity of their own view.  That is when using an independent and objective assessment can be useful, such as our Team Dynamics Assessment.

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