Team Roles Activity

Team Roles: Play to Your Strengths

Below is an inventory activity you can ask students to complete prior to their first team meeting. You can use their responses  to form compatible teams and students can use it for talking with team members about their strengths and weaknesses as they decide on their team roles (see back) during their first meeting.

When working in a team, it’s important to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. You also want to be honest with your teammates about these characteristics so they know what to be aware of ahead of time – if you’re a bad speller, they’ll know to look for spelling errors in your work. If numbers aren’t your thing, you don’t want to be assigned to do the spreadsheets and graphs. If you are detail oriented and enjoy making writing more clear, then perhaps you should be the team’s editor.

So take a few minutes now and honestly assess what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing.  And be even more honest about what you perhaps don’t do so well.  Consider the following to get you thinking:

  • When you have a writing project of your own, what do you enjoy most about the process? The least?
  • When you have a writing project of your own, what gives you headaches? What do you put off doing as long as you can?
  • Are you a perfectionist who just can’t let go of something? What would help you  decide “it’s good enough”?
  • Are you a procrastinator? What would help you start (or finish) work earlier?
  • Do you like to plan out your project so you know when everything is due and that you can get it done without last minute jitters? Or are you more of a “when the mood” strikes kind of writer?
  • Do you like taking notes in class or other situations like meetings?
  • In past group projects, 
    • how did you respond to stress, to deadlines?
    • how did you respond to disagreements or conflict in the group?
    • what “role” did you end up playing, intentional or not?

Roles and Responsibilities

Project Lead

  • Coordinates tasks and schedule.
  • Acts as point person/main contact.
  • Sets up meetings.
  • Regularly reviews and updates schedule to make sure project is on track. Works with team to get back on track as needed. Problem solver.

Presentation Lead (optional)

  • Similar to project lead but focuses on getting the presentation completed on time.

Bibliographer (optional)

  • Ensures the references/bibliography section of the report is kept up-to-date throughout the writing process.

Editor of final document

  • Someone who pays attention to detail.
  • Understands spelling and grammar.
  • Skillful writer.
  • Can work under deadline.
  • Should be given less work at another point in the project.
Roles Specific to Meetings:

Meeting Leader

  • Creates and distributes agenda for meeting.
  • Runs the meeting (with help of timekeeper).
  • Makes sure everyone is heard.

Scribe

  • Captures commitments, changes, etc. from meetings and distributes to rest of team.
  • At end of meetings, recaps and makes sure everyone agrees to changes, new commitments and that everyone understands what they are doing.
  • Should be someone who listens well and takes good notes, someone who can synthesize info and clarify points that aren’t clear.

Time Keeper

  • Keeps the meeting on track.
  • Stops off-task time, etc. 
  • Clarifies any points that don’t seem clear.
  • Makes sure everyone is heard during meetings.
  • Could also create the agenda with the team lead.
  • Possibly a quieter person who pays attention well, doesn’t get sidetracked, stays focused.

Negotiator

  • Negotiates/steps in if any disagreement arises. 
  • Alert to mood of team, makes sure all sides are heard and keeps the conversation respectful. 
  • May be the person who deals with someone not holding up his/her end.
  • Could call a special meeting if sees a problem that no one else is recognizing or that the team is avoiding.
  • Needs good people skills (diplomacy) but not afraid of conflict – understands that conflict and differences of opinion can be productive if handled well.