Building an effective team typically involves establishing clear roles and responsibilities. When everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, work flows more smoothly and fewer conflicts erupt. Particularly when team members reside in different locations, conduct team-building exercises to improve communication, promote cultural awareness and establish rapport. This helps to get things off to a good start. Generating a roles and responsibilities matrix allows you to document expectations so everyone understands their job. Team members create a successful team dynamic by committing to their role and function.


Team members contribute to the team dynamic by how they react, behave and perform. Management expert Meredith Belbin defined roles in terms of team behavior related to actions, thoughts and people. For example, for a training workshop development project, typical functions include project leader, course developer, subject matter expert and customer representative. When a project leader assigns tasks to the team members, he indicates which team members have responsibility for contributing to task completion. They agree to work on the task, adhere to quality criteria and meet the deadline. If they disagree with the strategy or approach, they need to discuss it with their peers or a positive team dynamic falters.


Typically, you make only one person on the team accountable for a task’s completion. Ideally, that individual has the skills, knowledge and experience to complete the task. If a team member lacks these skills and doesn’t perform his work, he risks delaying the work of other team members as well. The overall team dynamic suffers from poor communication. Each team member should be valued for his different talents, perspectives, values and experiences, but for each task, one person must accept accountability and address problems should they arise. Without accountability, dysfunction occurs.


Team members who have specific skills, knowledge and expertise usually function as subject matter experts or consultants. They contribute to a positive environment by coaching and mentoring less-experienced team members and providing information, materials and other resources to the team members who have responsibility and accountability for task completion. These consultant team members must respond to requests for reviews in a timely manner. They need to provide constructive feedback that doesn’t adversely impact the scope of the project.


Project sponsors and stakeholders typically need to stay informed. They provide business requirements, funding and inspiration to project team members. This contributes to productive working conditions and a successful team dynamic. If the project leader neglects to get sponsorship for projects or he poorly communicates the goals and objectives, confusion can ensue.