Christmas is the Time to Define Family Members’ Roles

Posted by Kristin Arnold on December 10, 2010

It’s Christmas Day and family and friends are gathered around to enjoy each other and celebrate the birth of our Lord.  Even within a typical family celebration, you can see the team dynamics occur with the following roles emerging:

Task Leader focuses on the tasks that need to be done.  They make the list and check it twice.  They orchestrate the meal preparation, the opening of the presents and the trash collection at the end.  This is the first role that typically emerges, with the “task master” telling or asking others what to do in a very direct way.  Taken to the extreme, this role may appear as bossy, pushy and demanding.

Morale Leader focuses on making sure everyone on the team is doing all right.  They make an effort to connect with each and every person, often with a hug, kiss or pat on the back.  They are wonderful at making sure that everyone shares the load (Did everyone bring a side dish?) and that no one is left out of the party (Did you get enough to eat?  The ham is just wonderful – you should try some!)  This role wants everything to flow smoothly.  They are also the first to notice the rough patches and make everyone feel better.  (I’m sure Aunt Martha didn’t mean to be so bossy – she just wants to make sure we all have a wonderful holiday).  Taken to the extreme, this role may appear flaky, wishy-washy and out of touch.

Fun Leader gets the group laughing and playing.  They don’t take themselves (or the subject matter) too seriously.  They are the first to tell a joke, invent a game, rent a movie or just be happy to be around.  They encourage others to find the fun – even when it isn’t readily apparent.  When things get too tense, the Fun Leader can interject their wry wit that quickly deflects the conflict.  Taken to the extreme, this role may appear irreverent, distracting, insulting and disregarded as a clown.

Challenger Leader constantly keeps the task leader on their toes.  Typically “big picture” people, the Challenger typically sits back and watches the action, occasionally asking a probing question to keep things focused and on track, much to the chagrin of the task leader.  (Are you sure you want to mash the potatoes like that?)   Taken to the extreme, this role may appear aloof, condescending and just plain ornery.  Like a dog with a bone, sometimes the Challenger just can’t let go of the issue.

As you enjoy your Christmas Day, watch these roles emerge.  See how they contribute to the team’s work.

Question:  Which role do you default to?  What about your fellow family members?

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