Observing Performance of
Traditional Group Roles

Many managers become comfortable with the manner in which they interact with others in a small group. This process is 'role-taking.'  Recognizing the effect of role choices can aid in changing behavior as necessary for excelling in Participative management.  Some of the behaviors you should learn to look for when working with your groups appear below, along with brief descriptions of how they operate to impede or to enhance decision making and group performance.  Through observation you will be able to identify for your colleagues the predominant roles they are using in your group interactions.  This knowledge can provide a basis for positive change.
Achievement (Task) Roles
Maintenance-Helpful (Climate) Roles
Defensive (Egocentric) Roles
 Achievement (Task) Activities & Roles

Achievement roles assist a group to accomplish its task.
Initiator Proposes new ideas, goals, procedures, methods, and solutions
Information Seeker Asks for facts and clarification; suggests when more information needed
Information Giver Offers facts, personal experience, and evidence
Opinion Seeker Draws out convictions and opinions of others; asks for clarification
Opinion Giver States own beliefs or opinions
Clarifier Elaborates on ideas expressed by others; gives related examples
Coordinator Clarifies relationships among facts offered by others; proposes new ways to look at group's effort
Orientor Clarifies group purpose or goals; defines group's position; summarizes and suggests direction group should take
Energizer Prods group to greater activity; stimulates interaction
Summarizer Assesses group functioning; raises questions about logic & practicality of member suggestions
 Maintenance-Helpful (Climate) Roles

Achievement roles are complimented by humanistic-helpful roles.
Supporter  Proposes new ideas, goals, procedures, methods and solutions
Harmonizer  Helps resolve differences; conciliates
Tension Reliever  Jokes; brings out humane characteristics; reduces formality; relaxes others
Gate Keeper  Helps others join in on the discussion
Encourager Praises, accepts, or agrees with other members' ideas; indicates solidarity and warmth
Standard Setter and Testing Expresses standards for the group to achieve or use in evaluating group process
Follower Goes along with the group; agrees to try out the ideas of others
 Defensive (Egocentric) Roles

Both task-centered and individual climate-centered roles are frustrated by egocentric roles. Defensive roles operate at the expense of the individual and the group.
Blocker Constantly raises objections; insists that nothing can be done
Recognition Seeker Boasts; calls attention to him/herself
Confessor Uses group for his own "therapy;" tells his life history; centers on his problems, mistakes, and feelings
Playboy Is out for fun; displays a lack of involvement in group tasks
Dominator Tries to run group; insists on his/her way
Special Interest Pleader Insists on his/her particular interests, regardless of group's goals; frequently represents another  group outside the immediate group
Avoider Lacks interest; wants to escape from the process; would rather be "golfing" or attending  "happy hour"