Important roles in a group

In many group projects, you can make it easier if you give each other different roles, such as Chair, Secretary and Timekeeper. The roles are assigned depending on who wants it, who is the most qualified or who needs to practise the most.

Important roles can be defined for every meeting while others may be more varied and be initiated by different group participants. It is good to rotate the roles between members. Often, you decide for yourselves how defined the role distribution should be, if it needs to be clarified as you work. Afterwards, the organisation and the work should be discussed.

The Leader/Chair leads the meeting, is responsible for clarifying the purpose and agenda, introduces the various points, summarises discussions and decisions.

The Secretary keeps notes at the meetings, keeps track of what has been decided and who is doing what, and when the next meeting will be. Distributes the minutes to all group members.

The Shaper/person responsible for follow-up follows up on how the members are doing between the meetings, that everyone is doing what they should, and that everything is going according to schedule. Report this at every meeting.

The Timekeeper has an overview and raises awareness on how much of the meeting time is allocated to different sub-tasks, so that each sub-task gets a reasonable or predetermined time.

The Process Advisor sees what is happening with the group process, sees and gives feedback if any participants get caught up in an argument and if any participants are limited by others.

The Investigator/Team worker comes up with things or knows someone who has information. Works. This role is shared by all team members.

Inspired by G. Gibbs (1994) Learning in Teams. A Student Manual (Oxford Brookes University).

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