The next time you go to your team meeting, take a few moments to observe the team functions and roles. At any particular moment, someone is leading, taking notes, keeping on track and on time, as well as participating in the meeting. Watch closely who is performing each function.
The team leader may be working very hard at all of these functions — not only leading the meeting, but keeping notes on a yellow legal pad, steering the agenda and the timetable, and answering questions without a whole lot of participation.
If that leader is you, well then my friend, you are working too hard!
Consider sharing the work:
Leader sets guidelines, helps to establish goals, and leads specific parts of the meeting.
Recorder keeps the visual memory of the team, capturing the nuggets of information so that all can see and follow the team’s progress. At the minimum, the recorder captures key subjects and main points raised, decisions made, and items that the group has agreed to raise again later.
Facilitator guides the team process — helping the team understand the issues, reach agreements and plan the next steps. The facilitator keeps the meeting on the topic and focused by opening and closing discussions, managing participation, providing process tools and techniques, checking for decisions, and intervening when necessary.
Timekeeper keeps time as established in the agenda and ensures that the meeting does not run overtime on any particular subject. The timekeeper provides warnings when time is running out.
Team Members contribute to the team, share their knowledge and expertise, participate in all meetings and discussions, and carry out their assignments between meetings.
In an extraordinary team, team members freely volunteer and often informally assume these basic team roles to ensure effective team functioning. The sharing of these roles and functions encourages team involvement and participation.
If you see only one or two people taking care of all the team functions, you may want to introduce this concept of sharing team roles. Suggest that different team members volunteer for each of the roles. Be clear about the definitions of each role and then conduct your team meeting.
At the end of the meeting, take a few minutes to check the process. Ask: “Did the roles help the team?” and “What could we do differently?” Reinforce what went well, and improve on the “do differently” at the next team meeting.