So many teams go off the rails because they don’t know how to clarify teammate roles or they simply don’t take the time to make them clear. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Clarifying teammate roles and responsibilities is a sure way to sustain high-performance teamwork, and this exercise is faster than creating a RACI Chart.
As preventive maintenance ensures your car runs properly, conducting a periodic team building workshop to re-clarify teammate roles will do the same for your team.
If you don’t perform this “maintenance,” teammates will start acting like an ole clunky car. Their timing is off, they burn oil and blow smoke. And who needs that kind of poor teamwork behavior — especially when it’s easily prevented with this team building exercise?
One of the standard ways to clarify roles is to create a RACI chart that defines individual or group Roles and Accountability as well as who needs to be Consulted and Informed. This is a good process, but for many it takes too long to create. It’s also useless if the team doesn’t periodically review it every six months.
If you don’t have a lot of time, use these four questions because it’s far better to prevent teammates from getting cranky. You’ll also find another set of five questions that line up with creating Right-Minded Teamwork…the ultimate team building method.
Here are the four questions:
- What are your 2-3 key deliverables, objectives or products you produce for the team?
- What resources and/or support do you need that you are currently receiving?
- What resources and/or support do you need that you are not receiving now?
- What are you getting that you don’t need; what is preventing or getting in your way of doing your job?
These four questions are openly discussed in a team building workshop. You want to give teammates about two weeks to prepare. The product of the workshop will be clear understandings and in many cases new teammate Work Agreements.
At the end of this post, you will see actions you can take now. Download the Leaders Guide for step by step instructions on how to set up and facilitate a role clarification team building workshop.
5 Bonus Questions
These five questions can also be used.
There are 5 essential elements of Right-Minded Teamwork. Each teammate answers one question for each element.
Here are the five questions.
- What specific actions are you taking that help the team achieving 100% customer satisfaction?
- What are you doing that helps the team achieve your team psychological goal?
- What behaviors are you demonstrating that show you are living the spirit and letter of our team work agreements?
- What actions are you consistently demonstrating that ensure our team operating system runs effectively and efficiently?
- What specifically are you doing to grow your right-minded teammate attitude and performance?
But wait. Don’t forget about this one overriding role.
Act as “One.”
As you implement all your other roles, it’s important for you to do so while operating out of a deep‐seeded and heartfelt sense of ONEness with your teammates and your team’s mission.
ONEness, at the team level, means:
- You believe and behave as an interdependent and ONE‐minded team player.
- You believe: “None of us is as smart as all of us” which results in 1 + 1 = 3.
- You believe: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – abundance.
- You demonstrate in word & action an attitude of “We” & also accountability.
The opposite of ONE‐mindedness is “separateness” and at the team level it means:
- You believe and behave as a separate and independent‐minded team player.
- You believe: “I am right, and you had better listen to me” which actually turns into 1 + 1 = 1.5.
- You believe there is not enough, so you fight to get what you perceive is rightfully yours – scarcity.
- You demonstrate in word & action an attitude of “I” & victimization.
Teams can get by while operating in an atmosphere of separateness, but they never achieve full potential. By definition, they pull in separate directions.
Separateness hinders performance. It sets up destructive competition, encourages little or no cooperation, reinforces power struggles, feeds the feeling of helplessness, and justifies finger pointing & blame.
Oneness helps performance. It creates cooperation, nurtures healthy competition, and empowers people to take accountability.
The costs and benefits are clear. Which will you choose? It is far better to believe and act from ONEness.
Summary – about clarifying roles.
- Conduct periodic ‘role’ workshops about every six months to ensure you sustain high-performance teamwork.
- Use the Leaders Guide below to show you how to use the questions.
Teammate Role & Responsibility exercise is one certain way to convince leadership that real team building beats silly team bonding games.
Action: Are you ready to clarify teammate roles?
Here are two actions you can take right now.
Give Right-Minded Choice Card to teammates when you conduct this exercise.