Handbook for Effective Collaboration – Creating Shared Expectations – UNDERSTANDING ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Understanding Roles and Responsibilities.

  • Why am I a member of this group?
  • Why are you?

Many teams struggle because there is a lack of clarity as to roles and responsibilities of team members. Recognizing the importance of relationships, effective teams focus on:

Connection before Content:  Taking time to get to know fellow team members, their role related to this particular initiative, and the strengths and expertise they bring to support achievement of the group’s purpose.

  •  Regular Interaction:  Making time to meet regularly, balancing technology supported interaction with face-to-face interaction when possible.
  •  Building Trust and Safety:  There is a strong correlation between the presence of trust and safety on a team and the team’s ability to engage in difficult, challenging, and complex conversations.  Effective teams work to build trust and safety and proactively address issues that compromise their ability to maintain these crucial elements.
  •  Balancing and Task and Maintenance:  Creating a foundation and structure for how they will work together.  This is the overall objective of the conversations we are introducing here.  As we stated earlier, maintenance conversations focus less on what is to be accomplished and more on how the team is going to accomplish it.


Clarifying Roles of Individual Team Members

Sample Questions

 Individual Reflection: 

Be prepared to share with the group you responses to the following questions:


  • Why are you a member of this team?


  • Whose interests do you represent to this team?  Self? Others?


  • How do you represent them?


  • With what level of authority do you operate as you represent others?


  • What is your “area of expertise” related to the work of the group?


  • What strength related to the task do you bring to this team? (We all have strengths)


  • What strengths do you have that you are concerned you might tend to hold back in this specific team environment?


  • What can we do as a team to support you to fully participate as a member of this team?


  • What if any steps may need to be taken to orient new members to the team?


  • Have there been any changes regarding roles and responsibilities that need clarifying and/or communicating?


Group Sharing: 

Take each question individually and share your responses with each other.  Take time clarify responses and your understanding of responses as they are shared.


  Group Debrief:

  • How do the answers to these questions inform potential action for our team?
  •  What actions will you take and by when?
  •  Notes:

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