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Our first coaching column will deal with a key management function and one that each of us must define as well - Clarifying role relationships.

Role clarification is one of the key factors in developing a successful team. There are two elements to clarifying roles:

Function -  i.e. What am I here to do?
Relationship  - i.e. With whom do I do it?

Clear roles provide for:

  • Clarity of relationships
  • Cues for appropriate behavior
  • Clarity of duty, status and responsibility
  • A clear boundary of what we do or don't contribute
  • Accountability

It is important that role functions be clarified on both a group and individual basis. This insures that the effectiveness of each member is viewed from an organizational point of view.

In order to better think through role functions, the following questions may be helpful:

  • What are we now doing? (list)
  • Why do we do each of these things? (keep asking 'why' until an identifiable output is reached)
  • Are these functions supportive of the mission?
  • What should we be doing in support of the mission? (list)
  • Why should we be doing these? (keep asking 'why' until an output is reached)
  • Is anyone else responsible for these outputs?
  • Is there a linkage of our function with others?

In order to better define role relationships, the following questions may be helpful:

  • To whom do I provide a product or service?
  • What do I give them?
  • Whom do I need in order to complete my task/operation?
  • What do I need from them?

The answers to these questions may also form the basis for  position specifications for each position in the group.



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