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Finding a balance – fill any gaps by taking on another role

Finding a balance

People naturally gravitate to one or two roles. You may need to encourage people to fill any gaps by taking on another role. For example, a creative team in an advertising agency is likely to have lots of ideas people, but the leader might need to encourage someone to take on the implementing role.

If you find you have gaps in your team, think carefully about who could fill them. It would probably be OK to get a challenger to adapt to the related role of bottom liner, but to ask a challenger to take on an ideas role may be too much of a change without a considerable amount of development of attitudes and skills.

Don’t attempt to force people to play out of character. Take what you have and mould a ‘better’ team.

Sean Walters, Personnel and Development Controller, Shart Electronics (UK) Ltd
Here are some other ideas for balancing the roles in your team:

Recruitment/selection – if your team expands or someone leaves, take missing roles into account when recruiting or selecting a new member.

Work allocation – if implementation is weak in your team, you could consider swapping people’s roles so a member who is naturally strong at getting on with the job moves into this role.

Delegation – if you have a team member whose skills, for example calming skills, are not being used, consider delegating this part of your own role to them.

Development – if you can’t find any other way to fill a role gap, you need to help someone develop the necessary skills. If no one is being very creative, for example, you could all learn to brainstorm or one member could go on a course to help them develop their creative thinking.

Being flexible in adopting different roles – as your team matures and members become aware of the roles needed in the team, they may be able to adapt their roles according to the needs of the situation. For example, it’s common for the roles of chairing and taking minutes to rotate around the team. You could encourage team members to rotate the challenging role.

Now do this

What methods could you use to fill the role gaps in your team?
[space to write about 4 lines]

You will need to discuss your ideas with your team. You could do this as part of the Into Action at the end of this section.

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