Each member of a work team comes to the team with a myriad of natural and trained skills and abilities that determine the team roles for which they are best suited. Here is a short process for determining who is most appropriate for each role on the team.
List the primary roles required in the team. Consider both formal roles such as team recorder, facilitator, leader and auditor, as well as informal roles such as team innovator, promoter, orator, and peacekeeper. Once a complete list of roles is defined, begin to discuss who is best suited for each role by virtue of their personal traits and professional training.
An ideal way to bring out team members hidden skills and traits is Team Challenge Events. Bring your team together to discover hidden skills such as communication, decision making, time management and problem solving skills.
Recognize that while team roles may be specified, they are also intertwined and connected to one another as well. Some roles are overlapping, and occasionally it will be discovered that one team member can play multiple compatible roles simultaneously. It is also possible that complex roles can be fulfilled by two or more team members sharing the role.
Know that team roles can evolve over time. When the need for a new role arises the role should be added. Some roles devolve and become unnecessary over time. When this occurs the antiquated role can be eliminated without impacting negatively on team functioning. Short-term, project specific roles will also arise from time to time, and need to be filled only during the life of the project.
By recognizing and utilizing the skills, knowledge, talents, and abilities of each team member in a role specific way, the team will capitalize on the universe of competencies members bring to the team, and will assure that the members who are best equipped to fulfil a team need are empowered to act. Not only will this process make the most of team talent, but team members will feel the satisfaction that comes from finding their niche, and being valued for their unique contribution to team success.