Team roles and responsibilities
‘Team work makes the dream work’ – It’s one of those phrases that you hear everywhere. Little do people know where it comes from however. It is a quote from John C. Maxwell in his book Team work makes the dream work. Aptly titled. The full quote reads ‘Team work makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team’. Not as catchy, but just as meaningful.
Teams are brought together for a multitude of reasons, some willingly and some not. Every team is as unique as its members. Working together is key to achieving the goal.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul speaks of the Body of Christ. The NIV entitles the passage ‘Unity and Diversity in the Body.’ `This sums up what a team should be: diverse and united. Paul speaks of the Church using the imagery of the human body; one body made up of many different parts, each with their own unique function and yet without each other the body would not work. The same can be said for teams. Each person has a different role to play. Whilst this can be different from what others in the team are doing, they are still as much a part of that body. The part that they play is necessary for the team to work as a whole. As Paul said of the Church “there are many parts, but one body”, teams are the same:- many parts, one team.
A Team Role is defined as “a tendency to behave, contribute, and inter-relate with others in a particular way.” (www.belbin.com). Dr. Meredith Belbin has identified nine team roles that people can take on as part of a team. Most people are comfortable in two or three roles, but can also adopt several more if need be. This leaves the roles we would prefer not to be in. The nine roles are as follows:
- Resource Investigator: They use their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team.
- Teamworker: Help the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
- Co-ordinator: Needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
- Plant: Tend to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
- Monitor Evaluator: Provides a logical eye, making impartial judgements where required and weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
- Specialist: Brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
- Shaper: Provide the necessary drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
- Implementer: Needed to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
- Completer Finisher: Most effectively used at the end of tasks to polish and scrutinize the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
Taken from Belbin Team Roles (www.belbin.com)
According to Belbin, a team needs access to all nine roles in order to succeed.
As people tend to have a number of roles that they are comfortable in this is very possible even in a small team. It is not the end of the world if your team doesn’t have access to all of these roles and in fact being aware of this can be very helpful in identifying who else you may ask to join, or indeed where you could work in partnership with others to resolve the missing links.
More information on Team Roles and how you can work your preferences out can be found on the Belbin website (link in further information).
REFLECTION & LEARNING
Every team is individual: the number of people, who they are, the skills that they bring, the reason the team has come together. The team is unique and that should be utilized. Don’t try to conform to other groups – it won’t work as they will be accessing roles differently to you!
Whilst the Belbin roles are helpful in increasing team efficiency and understanding each other’s roles in the team they are not the be all and end all. It is not a guaranteed pathway to success. There are many things that can get in the way of success, but understanding and appreciating each other’s role in a team goes a long way.
In youth ministry team-efficiency is all the more important. If team members are distracted by problems within the team, or feel unhappy or unappreciated in their role, they are not giving all of their attention to the young people, and young people can tell when you are not fully invested.
Understanding team roles can also be useful in your contact with young people. If you have young people working in a team, being able to spot who is adopting what role can be useful for encouraging participation and empowering those who are left on the sidelines.
Getting your team together to look at team roles and identify the roles that you adopt can be a useful way to bring the team together to work more efficiently. Being aware of different members’ skill sets and roles that they adopt is a good way to encourage collaboration and participation.
Clearly outlining the role and responsibilities of each team member assists in creating an efficient team, when people are clear on what they are being asked to do and their responsibilities it is easier to perform the tasks and duties assigned to you, and if there is a problem it is easier to identify and resolve.
Empowerment is a core value of youth work and that includes empowering those working with young people. If you are a leading a team, love your team, utilise their skills, listen to them, communicate with them and encourage them. If you are a member of a team, do the same for your team mates and leaders. You are in this together.
Belbin’s Team Roles : www.belbin.com
Top 10 Reasons Why Teams Fail and What You Can Do To Stay Strong : http://www.inc.com/sylvia-lafair/top-10-reasons-why-teams-fail-and-what-you-can-do-to-stay-strong.html
Naomi studied at the Institute for Children, Youth and Mission at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Whilst studying she worked as a youth worker for both XLP and Hope Church Islington in London. Currently Naomi is using the skills she learnt as a youth worker to manage a coffee shop, finding more cross over and more ways to drink coffee every day.