Team Role Theory: Stretch

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In Team Role Theory, ‘stretch’ refers to the difference between one’s preferred way of behaving/thinking, and the actual mode of behaviour/thought being used.

For example, suppose a team member has a preference for working with other people.  If that team member is required to work alone, then this is a ‘big stretch’, because he or she is having to operate in a mode that is less comfortable, and which is opposite to their natural preferences.  Working in a team with other people would be a ‘small stretch’, because the mode of behaviour being used is close to the mode of behaviour that is preferred.

In MTR-i Team Role Theory, the degree of stretch is determined by comparing two factors: Myers Briggs preferences and MTR-i team role.  The degree of stretch can be established by drawing a line on the MTR-i team role wheel between the four letter personality type code and the team role being used most.  This concept of stretch is related to the degree of ‘oppositeness’ of the different modes of thinking and behaving in Jung’s model of psychological types.

Each individual in a team will be stretched to greater or lesser extents, and the stretch can be experienced as either a good or a bad thing.  A small stretch can be a good thing if it means the person is doing what they enjoy and are fulfilled.  It can be a bad thing, however, if the person is not being challenged or is contributing to a lack of personal growth.  The converse is true for a big stretch: it can be a good thing if it provides challenge and development, but a bad thing if it creates stress.

It is important to get the right balance of stretch: too much demotivates, causing tiredness, stress and burn out; too little can also demotivate, resulting in a loss of performance, boredom and stagnation.

To achieve the right degree of stretch, team members can:

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