In high performing teams, we know that team roles help with not only execution (getting things done) but also maintaining teams. This holds true in virtual teams. If we focus only on getting things done, while short changing relationships, things may become unbalanced. In the virtual domain, team roles and clarity around this becomes even more pronounced with the importance of matrix relationships.
Matrix relationships occur when a virtual team member may report to two or more leaders. It could be that one person is working locally, and the other globally, or it might be the case where the team member is supported by the project lead as well as a technical expert.
Facilitating discussion around team roles and matrix relationships is an important part of team building. Without clarity, it is likely that many issues will recirculate.
In working through matrix relationship roles it can be important to ask the following questions:
What roles exist within the team and this matrix relationship?
What issues need to get communicated, and when?
What happens if directions are in conflict or contrast with the other?
What values underpin this work?
When will all three parties need to sit down and meet (virtually or in person)? Quarterly? Semi-annually?
How are disagreements handled?
In Teams365 #599 http://www.potentialsrealized.com/teams-365-blog/teams365-599-6-leadership-questions-matrix-management I also included these 6 questions to consider:
1. What are your current priorities in each team?
2. What overlap is there for you?
3. What roles do you play in both teams?
4. What responsibilities, opportunities and constraints should we as team be aware of?
5. What could be made more clear for you?
6. I need the following support ----- from ------ to be successful
You may also be interested in looking at this post as well:
Teams365 #594: Matrix Management: 4 Keys to Making it Work"
What are the discussions you want to, and need to have, around team roles and matrix leadership?
There are entire bodies of work around team roles including the work of Belbin. A topic for future posts, perhaps!
Have a great Tuesday,
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