Stable and controlled. The Implementer is the practical organizer; the one who turns decisions and strategies into defined and manageable tasks that people can actually get on with. The Implementer is concerned with what is feasible, and their chief contribution is to convert the team’s plans into a feasible form. Implementers sort out objectives, and pursue them logically.
The Implementer are notable for their sincerity, their integrity, and their trust of their colleagues, and they are not easily deflated or discouraged; it is only a sudden change of plan that is likely to upset them, because they are liable to flounder in unstable, quickly changing situations.
Because Implementers need stable structures, they are always trying to build them.
Give them a decision and they will produce a schedule; give them a group of people and an objective and they will produce an organization chart.
Implementers work efficiently, systematically and methodically, but sometimes a little inflexibly, and they are unresponsive to speculative, ideas that do not have visible immediate bearing on the task in hand.
At the same time they are usually perfectly willing to trim and adapt their schedules and proposals to fit into agreed plans and established systems.
The Implementer can be over-competitive for team status, which can be damaging if it expresses itself in the form of negative, unconstructive criticism of suggestions put forward by other members of the team.
Normally, however, the Implementer is close to the team’s point of balance.
If anyone does not know what on earth has been decided and what they are supposed to be doing they will go to the Implementer first to find out.
Stable, dominant, extrovert. “Coordinator” is one of those slightly misleading titles, since a Coordinator may well not be the leader of their team; nevertheless, it is team leadership for which they are best fitted. The Coordinator is the one who presides over the team and co-ordinates its efforts to meet external goals and targets.
Coordinators are distinguished by their preoccupation with objectives. You would expect them to be at least normally intelligent, but not in any sense brilliant, and not an outstanding creative thinker; it is rare for any of the good ideas to originate from them.
Coordinators are much more remarkable for what used to be called ‘character’; their approach is disciplined, and it is founded on self-discipline. They often have what is called ‘charisma’ but it is perhaps easier to think of it as authority.
They are dominant, but in a relaxed and unassertive way – they are not domineering. They have an instinct to trust people unless there is very strong evidence that they are untrustworthy, and they are singularly free from jealousy.
Coordinators see most clearly which member of the team is strong or weak in each area of the team’s function, and they focus people on what they do best. They are conscious of the need to use the team’s combined human resources as effectively as possible.
This means they are the one who establish the roles and work-boundaries of the others and also see gaps and takes steps to fill them. Coordinators talk easily and are easy to talk to; a good communicator in the two way sense, neither a compulsive talker nor a ‘person of few words’, but certainly a good listener.
It is Coordinators who clarify the group’s objectives and set its agenda; they select the problems for the team’s consideration and establishes priorities, but do not attempt to dominate the discussion.
Their own early contributions are more likely to take the form of questions than assertions or proposals.
They listen, they sum up group feeling and articulate group verdicts, and if a decision has to be taken, they take it firmly after everyone has had their say.
Anxious, dominant, extrovert.
Some observers of teams in action have suggested that a team needs a ‘social’ leader, who is the permanent head of the group, and a separate ‘task’ leader, who is in charge of a specific and defined project . Much in the way that a nation needs both a Head of State, who is permanent, and a Head of Government, with a specific job to do. If so, the Shaper is the task leader and the Coordinator is the social leader.
The Shaper/Task Leader is the most likely to be the actual leader of a team in those cases where there is no Coordinator, or where the Chairman is not, in fact, the leader. Shapers/Task
Leaders are full of nervous energy; they are outgoing and emotional, impulsive and impatient, sometimes edgy and easily frustrated.
They are quick to challenge, and quick to respond to a challenge (which they enjoy and welcome). They often have rows, but they are quickly over and they do not harbor grudges. Of all the team, they are the most prone to paranoia, quick to sense a slight and the first to feel that there is a conspiracy afoot and they are the object or the victim of it.
The principal function of the Shaper/Task Leader is to give a shape to the application of the team’s efforts, often supplying more of their own personal input than the Coordinator does.
They are always looking for a pattern in discussions, and trying to unite ideas, objectives and practical considerations into a single feasible project, which they seek to push forward urgently to decision and action.
Shapers/Task Leaders exude self-confidence, which often belies strong self-doubts. Only results can reassure them. They drive, which has a compulsive quality, is always directed at their objectives.
They are usually the team’s objectives too, but then the Shaper/Task Leader, much more than the Coordinator, sees the team as an extension of their own ego. They want action and they want it now. They are personally competitive, intolerant of woolliness, vagueness and muddled thinking and people outside the team are likely to describe them as arrogant and abrasive.
Even people inside the team are in danger of being steamrollered by them on occasions, and they can make the team uncomfortable; but they make things happen.
Dominant, very high IQ, introvert. Creators originally received their name when it was found that one of the best ways to improve the performance of an ineffective and uninspired team was to ‘plant’ one of this team type in it.
But you can also think of the Creator as the one who scatters the seeds which the others nourish until they bear fruit.
Creators are the team’s source of original ideas, suggestions and proposals: they are the ideas people. Of course others have ideas too; what distinguishes the Creator’s ideas is their originality and the radical-minded approach they bring to problems and obstacles.
They are imaginative as well as the most intelligent members of the team, and the most likely to start searching for a completely new approach to a problem if the team starts getting bogged down. They can often bring a new insight to a line of action already agreed.
They are much more concerned with major issues and fundamentals than with details, and indeed they are liable to miss out on details and make careless mistakes. Creators are thrustful and uninhibited in a way that is fairly uncharacteristic of an introvert.
They can also be prickly and cause offence to other members of the team, particularly when criticizing their ideas.
Their criticisms are usually designed to clear the ground for their ideas and are usually followed by their counter-proposals.
The danger with Creators is that they will devote too much of their creative energy to ideas which may catch their fancy but do not fall in with the team’s needs or contribute to its objectives.
They may be bad at accepting criticism of their own ideas and quick to take offence and sulk if their ideas are dissected or rejected: indeed, they may switch off and refuse to make any further contribution.
It can take quite a lot of careful handling and judicious flattery (usually by the Coordinator) to get the best out of them. But for all their faults, it is Creators who provide the vital spark.
Stable, dominant, extrovert. The Resource Investigator is probably the most immediately likeable member of the team.
They are relaxed, sociable and gregarious, with an interest that is easily aroused.
Their responses tend to be positive and enthusiastic, though they are prone to put things down as quickly as they take them up.
The Resource Investigator is the member of the team who goes outside the group and brings information, ideas and developments back to it.
They make friends easily and have masses of outside contacts. They are rarely in the office, and when they are they are probably on the phone.
They are the salespeople, the diplomats, the liaison officers, always exploring new possibilities in the wider world outside.
Their ability to stimulate ideas and encourage innovation by this activity would lead most people to mistake them for an ideas-person, but they do not have the radical originality that distinguishes the Creator; for all that, they are quick to see the relevance of new ideas.
Without the stimulus of others, for example in a solitary job, the Resource Investigator can easily become bored, demoralized and ineffective.
Within the team, however, they are good improvisers, active under pressure, but can over-relax when it eases.
They can fail to follow up tasks they undertook in one of their frequent bursts of short-lived enthusiasm.
Their range and variety of outside interests can lead them, like the Creator, to spend too much time on irrelevancies that interest them.
Nevertheless theirs is the most important team role to preserve the team from stagnation, fossilization and losing touch with reality.
High IQ, stable, introvert. In a balanced team it is only the Creator and the Monitor-Evaluator/Analyst who need a high IQ, but by contrast with the Creator, the Monitor-Evaluator/Analyst is a bit of a cold fish.
By temperament they are likely to be serious and not very exciting. Their contribution lies in measured and dispassionate analysis rather than creative ideas.
And while they are unlikely to come up with an original proposal, they are the most likely to stop the team from committing itself to a misguided project. Although they are by nature critics rather than creators, they do not usually criticize just for the sake of it, but only if they can see a flaw in the plan or the argument.
Curiously enough, they are the least highly motivated of the team: enthusiasm and euphoria simply are not part of their make-up. This, however, has the compensating advantage that ego-involvement does not cloud or distort their judgment. They are slow to make up their minds, and like to be given time to mull things over, but theirs are the most objective minds in the team.
One of their most valuable skills is in assimilating and interpreting and evaluating large volumes of complex written material, and analyzing problems and assessing the judgments and contributions of the others.
Sometimes they can do this tactlessly and disparagingly, which does not raise their popularity, and they can lower the team’s morale by being too much of a damper at the wrong time.
Although they are un-ambitious and have low drive, they can be competitive, especially with those whose skills overlap with their own, which means in most cases either the Coordinator or the Creator.
It is important for the Monitor-Evaluator/Analyst to be fair-minded and open to change; there is a danger that they will turn depressingly negative and allow their critical powers to outweigh their receptiveness to new ideas.
Although they are solid and dependable, they lack jollity, warmth, imagination and spontaneity. Nevertheless they have one quality which makes them indispensable to the team; their judgment is hardly ever wrong.
Stable, extrovert, low in dominance. Team Workers are the most sensitive members of the team – they are the most aware of individuals’ needs and worries, and the ones who perceive most clearly the emotional undercurrent within the group.
They also know most about the private lives and family affairs of the rest of the team.
They are the most active internal communicators; likeable, popular, unassertive, the cement of the team.
They are loyal to the team as a unit (though this does not mean they cannot take sides when there is a split) and support all the others.
If someone produces an idea, their instinct is to build on it, rather than demolish it or produce a rival idea.
They are good and willing listeners and communicate freely and well within the team, and also help and encourage others to do the same.
As a promoter of unity and harmony, they counterbalance the friction and discord that can be caused by the Shaper/Task Leader and the Creator, and occasionally by the Monitor-Evaluator/Analyst.
They particularly dislike personal confrontation and tend to try to avoid it themselves and cool it down in others.
When the team is under pressure or in difficulties, the Team Worker’s sympathy, understanding, loyalty and support are especially valued.
Their un-competitiveness and dislike of friction may make them seem a bit soft and indecisive, but they also make them a permanent force operating against division and disruption in the team.
They are exemplary team members, and although in normal times the value of their individual contributions may not be as immediately visible as most of the other team roles, the effect is very noticeable indeed when they are not there, especially in times of stress and pressure.
Anxious, introvert. Completer-Finishers worry about what might go wrong. They are never at ease until they have personally checked every detail and made sure that everything has been done and nothing has been overlooked.
It is not that they are overtly or irritatingly fussy – their obsession is an expression of anxiety.
Completer-Finishers are not assertive members of the team, but they maintain a permanent sense of urgency which they communicate to others to galvanize them into activity.
They have self-control and strength of character, and are impatient of and intolerant towards the more casual and slap-happy members of the team.
Completer-Finishers have one major preoccupation, it is order; they are a compulsive “meeters” of deadlines and fulfillers of schedules.
If they are not careful they can be morale-lowering worriers with a depressing effect on the rest of the team, and they can too easily lose sight of the overall objective by getting bogged down in small details. Nevertheless, their relentless follow-through is an important asset.
David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer and PM Mastery System brand names. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.