Extraordinary Team Blog

Spreading Out Duties Can Be Invaluable

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 4, 2010

Are you working too hard as a team leader?  You are very busy leading your team, establishing goals, setting direction, managing discussions, and keeping folks on task while documenting all this teamwork!  It’s exhausting!

Relax, no need to hog all the work!  Try “sharing the wealth” in small pieces.  Ask yourself, “What function can I ask someone else to do that will help me and develop that person’s abilities?”  Give team roles to others on the team:

Gatekeeper.  Make sure everyone has a chance to speak and that one person doesn’t hog all the airtime.

Timekeeper.  Have someone else accountable for helping the team start on time and end on time.  Ask them to give the team a warning before the end of each agenda item.  When the time is up, the team may decide to 1) move toward immediate closure of the discussion, 2) “park” the issue for another time, or 3) to renegotiate the timetable and continue the discussion (but at least you won’t be trapped and unable to escape!)

Scribe.  Rather than taking notes on a yellow legal pad, ask someone on the team to keep the team’s “minutes” to remind the team of past agreements and future work.

Recorder.  Ask another person (or if on a small team, ask the scribe) to record people’s ideas on a flip chart for all to see.  When people’s ideas are recorded, they feel as if they have been heard.  Also, by posting the comments, you don’t have to keep repeating the same points.

Process Observer.  Rather than launching into a conversation, the process observer makes sure the team has a process in place and stays on track.  If the team doesn’t have or follow the process, the observer lets the team know.

Spokesperson.  Whenever the team needs to report out, consider having someone else (or the entire team) report out key features.

If you are nervous about giving up some control, you might want to give the team member some “on the spot” coaching about how to perform their team role.  With a little bit of forethought and preparation, your team will be more involved and you won’t have to work so hard!

Question:  Are you working too hard as a team leader?

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