Team Role Theory: Key Principles Summary

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To achieve an optimum level of performance, from the perspective of personality theory, team members should work to their strengths.  This gets the best out of them - that’s a view that a lot of people hold and is often taught by OD professionals.

However, there is a balancing perspective from Team Role Theory:  to achieve optimum performance the team should be flexible and adapt their behaviour to whatever is right for the situation.  “There is a time for everything under the sun”.  The more successful individuals are able to judge what the time is and behave accordingly.  And successful teams are not only able to adapt individually, but also work well together.

In particular, HIGH PERFORMING teams/managers/members…

Whereas, POOR PERFORMING teams/managers/members…

One of the frequent problems we have encountered in team consultancy is time being wasted in team meetings through circular arguments.  The time is rarely productive, it is often driven by team members trying to assert their perspective: they not only fail to listen to the other point of view but they often dismiss it as of little importance.

This battle between perspectives can often stymie a team, but such conflict also provides the potential for great creativity (if it is handled well).  The battle is often caused by competition between team members, or a natural enthusiasm for their own preferences, or disdain for spending time discussing things that are opposite to their preferences.

As the Buddha taught, it’s not our preferences that cause problems, it’s our attachment to them.

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