My business program is notorious for team projects called 48-Hour reports. You are literally given 48 hours to complete a comprehensive analysis on a given case as well as recommendations for it. Also, you are required to work in teams of five to eight members. I think that it simulates a real-life example of projects and challenge our time management skills. All in all, I strongly believe that it is an effective method of teaching.
After six 48-Hour reports (and one 28-Hour), I made an analysis on team dynamic and human behavior. These observations are applicable to the majority of teams. I identified four main roles within the groups.
*NOTE: These assumptions are made based on a 100%, all-hands-on-deck situation. THIS IS NOT A RANT. Instead, it is an analysis on how to identify the different characters that may appear in a team environment and how to work around them.
The Driver – 10%
There will always be a driver and they make up 10% of the team. They will either automatically assume the role or be forced into it. Some will be more obvious than others, but someone will be directing the ship and they set the pace of the group. I find that a good driver will layout the best plan of attack and create a list of tasks that needs completion.
The Backseat Driver – 10%
One person will play this role. The Backseat Driver is known to turn the car to Antarctica even though the whole team is set on going to the Arctic. Though things may go ‘south’, hear them out. They may have a good point. However, if they consistently challenge ideas and do not add value, intervention is necessary to realign the group’s goals.
The Support – 50%
Most of the group members can be categorized in this area and they create the bulk of the content. They work together and feed off of each other’s ideas. High level of collaboration and a clear plan are needed for this section to function well.
This group is uncertain on how to add value to the group, because the subject is not their forte. Always assume that the 20% want to assist you (because they do) and give them very specific instructions. Patience is a virtue. Their collaboration is good for the team dynamic as they feel more engaged and included. You will also be able to allocate the project’s weight across a wider board. In addition, this group will emerge when there are no more tasks. The marginal benefits would decrease if you force them to do something.
What does this all mean?
After identifying these different characters in your group, I do think that you become more adaptable to different personalities. Second, you are more likely to reflect on how you interact with other people.