Team Roles: Impression Management

team roles

Which role are you best in? How do you know? How flexible are you? Are you aware of the need to assume a role?

Impressions management is the process of managing the perceptions others have of you by managing those perceptions. For example, you might conform or approve someone’s opinion to win their favour or apologise for a mistake you made to show you are responsible. Role flexibility is only commonsense at times. How role aware are you, really?

What predominant role do you play on your team? At a meeting, for example, do you play a certain role, consciously or unconsciously? Why? How does it help or hinder progress? Are you aware of your role behaviours?

Team Role Areas

There are three role areas to consider:

  1. A results/task oriented role (push the agenda along).
  2. A team building and maintaining good relationships role.
  3. Play my own game role (functional input only).

Circumstantial hat

In a team, you can wear three types of circumstantial hats:

  1. Your results task oriented hat, which pushes you to make progress and get the job done
  2. Your team hat, which is concerned with how the team operates, and motivated by the belief that ‘no individual is perfect, but a team can be!’
  3. Your functional hat, which is driven by your own agenda or departmental interest.

Role Example

Here is an example of a role you could play for the benefit of your team or to expedite a project.

Suppose your team has developed ‘group-think’ on a subject. This means that everyone is agreeing on the approach or outcome. You determine that a good debate or lively discussion is necessary to make a more informed, better quality, decision. So you take a controversial role of questioning the validity of the critical aspects of the subject.

This will ‘force’ the team to defend their decision-making and reappraise the value and merit of certain aspects that save time or money. Your role adoption may not come naturally to you but it serves the team well with a better outcome.

Which role do you adopt on your team?

Are you aware of how the different roles can affect the dynamics of a team and how this “role awareness” can help the functioning of the team and improve results?

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