Team Role Development

The core aim of Team Role Development is to build relationships between team members of the same team or between multiple team units.

It is best used at the start of the project but can be used as a 'reboot' if you sense relationships are going a little off course. 

The tool achieves its objectives by identifying and building synergies between different role types to improve cohesion and efficiency.

WorkshopBank Team Role Development Completed Chart

A completed Team Role Development chart

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    To identify synergies between different roles within a team or between multiple departments.
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    To improve team efficiency by highlighting any gaps, mismatches or duplications.
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    To identify key issues that need resolving.
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    To develop potential solutions to these issues and an action plan.

When Would You Use It?

  • Whenever you would like to generate a collaborative list of team building ideas.
  • This tool can be a great motivational activity for a team.


  • 1
    The Facilitator explains the objectives of the process to the Participants (i.e. we’re looking to create a list of team building ideas to implement later)
  • 2
    The Participants select the 6-7 roles that are represented in their team (e.g. Project Manager, Tech Support, Business Development, Sales, Marketing)
  • 3
    Each column and row are labelled as one of these roles.
  • 4
    The Participants identify up to 3 key objectives for each role and write them in the intersecting square (15 mins).
  • 5
    The Facilitator splits the team up into groups and each group takes a row and they place themselves in the shoes of that role.
  • 6
    The Facilitator asks each group to write in the relevant box what they, in that role, do for each of the other roles represented in the chart, how they contribute to their role, what they provide for them, etc. (15 minutes)
  • 7
    Once the chart is completed, the groups stay in their roles and, taking each column in turn, review what each of the other roles says they do for them. Does it match your understanding? Add annotations about gaps, mismatches or duplications. (20 minutes)
  • 8
    The Facilitator asks everyone to stand back and review the whole chart. What does this say about roles within the team? Where do the issues lie? What gaps exist? What overlaps are there?
  • 9
    The Participants identify key issues and priorities. Discuss, identify potential solutions and actions. (20 minutes)

Blank Matrix Example

WorkshopBank Team Role Development Blank Chart

Completed Matrix Example

WorkshopBank Team Role Development Completed Chart

Resources Required

  • A willing group of people (max 20 for best results).
  • A large rectangular piece of blank paper big enough for everyone to stand around and see comfortably (2m by 1m is normally enough).
  • Wall space to put the paper up on.
  • A private quiet open space surrounding the paper.
  • Post-it notes and lots of marker pens (at least one each plus a few extra spares if required).
  • No tables and chairs to promote action.

Roles & Responsibilities


Team / Participants

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    Focuses on getting through the process.
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    Keeps the process on track.
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    Promotes interaction.
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    Contributes their knowledge and expertise.
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    Follows the process.
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    Helps the team attain the goal.

Secret Sauce

  • Do a quick evaluation initially (i.e. don’t debate).
  • Keep the session moving. It’s very easy to get stuck when the teams are completing the rows.
  • Always do the Action Plan at the end.

Free Download Files

About the Author

Nick Martin helps leaders & consultants improve team results with resources, advice & coaching through

  • Hi Nick
    This happens to be quite relevant for my current work, thanks much for sharing!

  • Alison Hollinshead says:

    Hi Nick

    This looks absolutely brilliant – I am looking forward to trying it out – will let you know how it goes

    Thanks for sharing!

  • It’s a fantastic team building tool Alison and Paul. Hope you get some great results out of it. Do let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear 🙂

  • Lan LEVY says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for sharing! It looks really good and simple to use. I’ll try it out and let you know how it works.


  • That’s great Lan. It is really easy to use and I’d love to hear how you get on. If you discover improvements then that would be even better!

  • Thanks Nick!

  • End of year review is here, my friends, and I am about to go with this promising group exercise with a variance and I am looking for the impressions of all that have already used this process tool.

    I plan to replace “roles” with “departments” and each departmental group will be conducting a row review and then a column analysis of results.

    What do you think about this? I assume that group homogeneity is important or should I have mixed groups assuming the role of the department as Nick suggests in the case of “individual roles” ?

    • That should work great Paul. Personally I’ve never done this variance before but I can’t see why it shouldn’t work really well.

      One thing that might happen is that there will probably be a lot more inter-departmental discussion during steps 5-7 (whilst they’re populating the grid with content) because they’ll need to get consensus before putting their notes on the board. Therefore you might want to allow for extra time during these steps (and throughout) so that discussion can be had.

      Let us know how it goes though Paul. Always great to see tools being tweaked for different purposes 🙂

  • Susan says:

    The last time I tried a team building exercise I got my employees to try out the ‘it’s a knock out’ game, a lively obstacle course, however I felt as though a few felt left out, and this time I needed to find an exercise that would, require everyone’s involvement with their own particular set of skills. can’t wait to try this out, thanks so much for sharing.

    • That’s a pleasure Susan. Glad you like it. Love the sound of the ‘it’s a knock out’ game. Can we share it with the community here on WorkshopBank?

  • bomb says:

    am a student undertaking business having some topic concerning about team work, team building and team maintenance keep me inform on the new ideas about all these.

  • Julie Mulheran says:

    Thanks Nick – yes, this is a really useful tool and your explanation is so helpful.

    I’ve used this approach in a variety of ways :-

    1. In support of a team based review for individual members of a leadership team, part way through a complex project. From my experience I’d say that the proposed timings are about right. I found that I needed a bit of extra time to clarify the exercise brief.

    On a purely practical note I used to super large Post Its with a different colour allocated to each team – made it much easier to see at a glance.

    2. For a kick off workshop , at the beginning of a challenging accelerated project, to build a multi party Joint Venture team- so the question was a forward looking one rather than a review – eg ‘As we set off on this project what do you think my objectives & needs are?’. This exercise was excellent to surface ‘inherited’ expectations that might have otherwise caused tensions between the JV parties.

    The issues which came from the exercise formed the afternoon sessions of the kick off workshop – so it was handy to have a problem solving structure to follow up this exercise.

    3. I’ve used the approach as you describe it with teams, in the way that Paul is thinking. Dept teams who are already fairly cohesive move at a fair pace through steps 5-7. However teams that are more fragmented, operate virtually or who haven’t had an opportunity to check in with each other need a little more facilitation support to reach a view to share on the chart.

    I would definitely recommend allowing more time under these circumstances.

    Typically the feedback from these types of teams has been that comparing expectations within their Dept team was a revealing & valuable experience.

    A couple of delegates suggested that they would like to prepare in their Dept teams prior to the workshop because they were keen to move to the comparing expectations discussion.

  • Zoleka says:

    Thank you so much. Will be making use of this tool with the Executive team and their direct reports, thus per Department

  • Jenny OFarrell says:

    I really love this one! But also all your other ideas are terrific too. What is great is not only the simplicity of them but the great practical approach. Really hands on and gets people moving zed thinking and also gives great “next steps”. Love your work!

  • Fidelito Mariveles says:

    These tools are great and useful. To all development workers who are spending much time browsing the net, this is the answer to all of your needs.

  • sue says:

    Hello Sir Nick!

    I am grateful for sharing to me your talent and ability about team building development.
    Thank you so much. Hope you will continue sharing to with out any cost.

    More Power to you…

  • all guidelines are very crucial for us/ managers, and I would like to say thank you for the opportunities!
    I also want to understand maybe helper to understand like this portion?

  • rey villegas says:

    Hi Nick,
    Your idea is great and will be very helpful in my future engagement with my clients. I really appreciate your sharing this valuable idea without expense on my part. Your philanthropic act by sharing this without asking for anything is remarkable and no amount of appreciation will be enough. Continue sharing your great mind and works!

  • George says:

    Hi Nick!
    This seems to be a nice tool, and I am considering to use it among departments to improve co-operation, team spirit but also motivation. I am thinking of not assessing the “DOs” of each department in step 6, but the other way round, to assess what each function receives and appreciates from the others. Then, in step 7, each department would assess what input/service that is received could be improved/enhanced or even started if missing. In step 8 all the positive and delta findings would be presented, and then discussed with the entire team.
    What do you think about this approach?

  • Jody Bareket says:

    Thanks for this Nick! Very useful. I also use something similar to have different roles align on needs and expectations. I would use the column down for each role to outline what they expect/need from the other roles and then use the rows to outline what they think the other roles needs/expect from them. We then do speed dating for pairs [roles] to compare and highlight key points to then discuss (agreements/ disagreements) and agree on.

  • Abel Jason says:

    That’s good Nick and it helpful and concrete Doc in my study

  • Abel Jason says:

    That’s concrete and helpful material Nick thanks for that

  • Piet says:

    Very innovative!

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