How To Define Team Roles and Responsibilities in 4 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 1, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated June 1, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

When teams have clear functions and responsibilities, they know what is expected of them and work more efficiently. Knowing their roles will also help them feel encouraged and motivated toward completing their various tasks.

Understanding how to develop the right roles for your team is crucial to its success. In this article, we define what roles and responsibilities are and determine how to best use each employee’s skillset for your team’s overall objective.

Related: Project Team: Roles, Responsibilities and Important Elements

What are roles and responsibilities?

Roles refer to one’s position on a team. Responsibilities refer to the tasks and duties of their particular role or job description. Employees are held accountable for completing several tasks in the workplace. The clearer their supervisor outlines the tasks, the better employees can achieve their team’s goals and succeed in their roles at the company.

For a supervisor or team leader to effectively delegate, however, they must understand that individual’s role at the company. It can also be beneficial to understand the benefits of implementing functional roles and responsibilities.

Benefits of functional roles and responsibilities

Along with increasing team efficiency, creating functional roles and responsibilities provides several other benefits that could help your company as a whole. Understanding these benefits will motivate team leaders to implement them in the future if they haven’t already. Here are some of the benefits of establishing functional roles and responsibilities.

Increased productivity

When teams understand what’s expected of them, they know what they need to work on. Having a clear definition of their responsibilities will increase your team’s overall productivity. This productivity will then lead to your team’s increased momentum and success in the long run.

Team success

By effectively delegating necessary tasks and having a set schedule, you’re setting your team up for success. Employees with clear duties and deadlines have all the tools they need to get the job done and achieve optimal success.

Increased morale and momentum

When an employee’s responsibilities are clearly defined and they are successful in their role, the entire team will benefit from it. Team success is a great way to build momentum for future projects, thus fostering more productivity. This same success will also contribute to the team’s heightened confidence.

How to develop roles and responsibilities

Understanding your team’s goals and objectives is a great way to determine functional roles and responsibilities. When employees know what they should be working on, they’re more productive and have the ability to produce higher-quality content. Here’s how to develop functional roles and responsibilities in your team:

1. Determine what needs to get done

Make a list of all the tasks that need to be completed. This will give you an idea of how many tasks you’ll need to delegate. Make note of what your team is currently working on as well as previous projects. Were past projects met with success? If not, what could have been improved? Are there tasks that need to be completed but haven’t been? Recognize and delegate them to your team accordingly.

Related: How To Delegate Tasks in the Workplace: 7 Tips

2. Identify strengths and weaknesses

Noticing your team’s strengths and weaknesses is a great way to assign responsibilities as they pertain to their job descriptions. Once you have an idea of where an employee tends to shine, assign them tasks that cater to their strengths. If they show weakness in a specific area, consider assigning that task to another team member who can perform the task more successfully. This will help your team to work more efficiently and help them gain confidence in knowing they can do what was asked of them. At the same time, it’s important to remember that employees should always be learning and expanding their skill set on the job.

Related: How To Identify and Overcome Any Weakness

3. Refer back to a team member’s job description

Take note of every team member’s job description when determining their duties. An employee should be given tasks that adhere to what they were hired for in the first place. It’s also important to take into consideration their interpersonal skills, interests and past successes. A combination of their job description and their personality traits will help you better delegate your team’s assignments.

4. Get feedback

Asking for feedback can provide you with more insight into how to create functional team roles and responsibilities. By asking your team for feedback, you’re also showing them that you care about their opinion and insight. This will help foster a healthy discussion of their expectations within the company. Having a clear stream of communication with your team is key.

Related: 10 Examples of Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

Team member roles and responsibilities

Each team member has a role to play defined by skill set and experience. Some might be optimists, encouraging, innovative ideas and positivity, while others will be more pragmatic and encourage definable goals and structure. The point is that all roles have their value in the collaboration of a team. Here are some general roles and responsibilities for a team member:

  • Actively participate

  • Be an active listener

  • Take notes

  • Complete tasks and assignments

Related: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Team Player

Team leader roles and responsibilities

The main role of a team leader is to provide the team with direction and support. They’re also responsible for delegating tasks. To effectively lead a team, a team leader must outline not only the team’s main objective but the tasks each employee is responsible for. As an effective team leader, you should:

  • Prepare material for your team

  • Maintain a team calendar or schedule

  • Schedule and hold meetings

  • Facilitate discussion

  • Communicate with team members

  • Assign responsibilities

  • Draft and deliver correspondence

  • Supervise team members

  • Support team members

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples


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