Clarifying roles and functions

Everybody in a work group or team knows and executes their roles and functions. Right? Yes and no. Ask each person if they know what their roles and functions are and they will mostly answer ‘yes’. Ask them if they execute them and they will still mostly answer ‘yes’. Ask them if others know and execute their roles and functions and you will get some very different answers. As the late and great Professor Julius Sumner Miller used to ask, “Why is it so?” High-performance teams (or work groups) have better clarity, understanding and agreement on the roles and functions of the members of their team or work group. They also have greater alignment in their perceptions on how well everybody executes their roles and functions. Phew. That’s a tough ask. Here’s a game plan to improve both clarity and execution. If you would like information on a system and tools designed to achieve this and much more, see and click on Team Performance. Review the points below and answer the questions: What needs to happen? What could we do better? • The need for and benefits of having individual ‘team performance’ roles and functions clearly defined or reviewed are discussed and agreed. • Roles and functions and what is expected from us regarding our contribution to team performance are clarified and applied. • The work group/team leader’s role and functions and work group/team expectations of that role are clarified and aligned. • Tasks are allocated fairly and in relation to competence to ensure that the workload is not contributing to unacceptable performance. • The required team performance standards and expectations of each position within the work group/team are clarified, accepted and applied. • The team role for each position is documented and discussed with and agreed by each work group/team member. • We agree who performs key functions, who is consulted, who is advised of the result, who provides the information and who makes the decision. • All work group/team members are aware of the team performance role and requirements of other positions. • We review team performance roles on an ongoing basis – each time a new employee is appointed, new jobs are allocated, people leave, people take leave, restructuring occurs, new strategic plans are developed or every six months as a minimum. • We have the required resources, support, knowledge, skills and motivation to perform our individual and team roles. Individuals are clear on what they have to do in order to produce the team outputs. Each person produces their output to the agreed standards. • We have the right mix of people and are able to influence the achievement of team performance outcomes. • We engage in cross-skills training and perform the roles of others when required. • Senior management does what needs doing to support the clarification of team performance roles and functions.

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