Team members can also have informal roles.
Informal roles are often related to interpersonal relations.
Many informal roles influence – or are influenced by – conflict.
As such, it is important to investigate informal roles.
There are several lists with informal roles, but in this course we use the classic – but still relevant - table of Benne and Sheats (1948):
Role & Explanation
- Encourager: Rewards others through agreement, warmth, and praise
- Harmonizer: Mediates conflicts among team members
- Compromiser: Shifts his or her own position on an issue in order to reduce conflict
- Gatekeeper: Smooths communication by setting up procedures and ensuring equal participation
- Standard setter: Expresses or calls for discussion of standards for evaluating the quality of the team process
- Commentator: Points out the positive and negative aspects of the team’s dynamics and calls for change if needed
- Follower: Accepts the ideas offered by others and serves as an audience for the team