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Home > News > June 2005 > 30-Jun-2005

Research suggests eight essential team roles

New research suggests that 40% of UK employees feel they work in teams that regularly fail to meet basic targets. 41% of these blame bad performance on poor team structures, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment at work.

The workplace study highlights the problem of people being made to carry out roles to which they are unsuited. 32% of those surveyed say they have experienced colleagues failing in their job and employees who lack the basic skills to get the work done.

The research, commissioned by Domino's Pizza which employs nearly 9,000 people in 370 teams across the UK and Ireland, found that 60% of respondents find famous teams from films, TV or books, aspirational role models. Ocean's Eleven is the most admired team, followed by Hannibal Smith's renegade soldiers in The A-Team with Charlie's Angels in third place.

Professor Cary Cooper, a director of business psychology consultancy Robertson Cooper, called on bosses to pay close attention to team dynamics and group structure. He said: "By recognising specific personality types and skill bases, a random group of individuals can be structured to become a highly effective team that delivers much more than the sum of its parts. The reason for the popularity of teams such as Ocean's Eleven is that they combine the right mix of people with complimentary skills, successfully completing a difficult task."

The study suggests eight essential roles are needed to create the optimum workplace grouping in which individuals will feel more motivated and perform more effectively:

* Explorer Networker - keeps in touch with new thinking, inquisitive, excited by ideas/challenges, enjoys people, spots opportunities, uses initiative

* Leader Co-ordinator - encourages people to participate, offers co-ordination and control, resolves differences of opinion, averts conflict

* Driver - energises people, pushes for action, asserts views on what needs to be done, challenges alternative opinions

* Completer Achiever - approaches tasks in an urgent meticulous manner, maintains standards, meets deadlines

* Specialist - a technical approach, specific area of expertise, maintains a specialist role

* Analyst - demonstrates analytical rigour in thinking, decisions are considered and educated

* Team Coach - attentive to people's needs and welfare, listens to concerns, explores feelings on a particular issue

* Innovator - source of creative thinking for strategies and problems, break-through approaches, original ideas

The research found that 22% of workers perceive themselves to be a leader co-ordinator whereas just 6% see themselves as explorer networkers - people who seek out new ideas. What's more only 6% see themselves as analysts - those with rigorous thinking - and just 7% say they are drivers - the ones who push for action and results.

Professor Cooper said: "There's a place for everyone within an effective team as long as individuals are given a role that best suits their skills and personality traits, creating a more fun and balanced working environment. Even seemingly inept characters like The Office's David Brent play a valuable part in the workplace dynamic - given the right role he could emerge as a popular and effective team leader."

Jane Roberts, head of Human Resources at Domino's Pizza commented: "Operating in such a fast paced industry with a traditionally high turn over of staff, it is vital that Domino's regularly evaluates what makes its people tick and understands the best ways to keep team members engaged and interested in their roles. Domino's believes that positive team dynamics are fundamental to expanding the business as every single person that works for the company, from delivery driver and pizza maker to franchisee and head office staff, is at the heart of its success."

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