Behaviors in a Team

- March 2021 -

Written By: Bill Pierce

Every team member exhibits three types of behavioral roles in participating on any team. The Task role are those behaviors that get the team task (Objectives) accomplished effectively and efficiently. The Maintenance role are those behaviors that improve the relationships among the team members. The Self-Oriented role are those behaviors that meet personal needs. Lets look at these roles in each of these categories:

Task Roles

  1. Initiator - one who defines objectives, goals, tactics, issues, risk analysis and procedures to accomplish the mission of the team.
  2. Information seeker - one who asks for facts, seeks all relevant information to define the issues, objectives and goals of the mission.
  3. Information provider - one who provides all relevant information that the team needs to accomplish the mission.
  4. Opinion seeker - one who asks for opinions, feelings, suggestions, and estimates needed to accomplish the mission.
  5. Opinion giver - one who openly states her/his beliefs, feelings and suggestions needed to accomplish the mission.
  6. Clarifier - one who interprets, defines, and clears up any confusion in the team discussions to accomplish the mission.
  7. Elaborator - one who gives examples, generalizes and finds creative ways to explain the issues to accomplish the mission.
  8. Summarizer - one who pulls together related ideas and suggestions to gain understanding of all team members to accomplish the mission.

Maintenance Roles

  1. Encourager - one who is friendly, warm, accepting and encourages each member to participate in the discussions and decisions of the team.
  2. Feelings expresser - one who shares personal and team feelings on all concerns of the team.
  3. Harmonizer - one who pours oil on troubled waters, reduces tensions among members and seeks solutions interpersonal conflicts on the team.
  4. Compromiser - one who offers solutions and compromises and yields on her/his own points in a discussion
  5. Gatekeeper - one who keeps communications flowing on the team, requests input from each member and seeks solutions to issues that arise.
  6. Standard Setter - one who expresses standards to be reached by the team and sets the example in their behavior on the team.
  7. Consensus tester - one who sends up trial balloons to test conclusions of the team and seeks decisions.
  8. Follower - one who goes along with others when the facts and other information match their decisions.

Self-Oriented Roles

  1. Agreer - leans on authority and always agrees, is dependent on the supervisor.
  2. Disagreer - defies authority no matter what the facts are.
  3. Smooth - calms everyone down and denies feelings for anything.
  4. Splitter - separates protagonists and seeks disagreement.
  5. Dominator - tries to take over and get his/her own way.
  6. Manipulator - tries to win over others to their own point of view.
  7. Withdrawer - avoids conflict and decisions, uninvolved.

Task and Maintenance roles are functional and they help reach team objectives and maintain the health of the team. Self oriented behavior is largely dysfunctional and makes it difficult for the team to reach the objectives and maintain the teamwork.

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