“Not now. I’m busy thinking up a clever way to start this blog post. But, you know, I’ll be happy to meet up on the next available day that doesn’t end in ‘Y’.”

Yeah, not everyone loves working on team projects or in team-oriented environments. This is no secret. A lot of us prefer to operate autonomously, come up with our own ideas, and make the decisions we think will result in the best outcome.

However, if you’ve been paying attention to modern business trends, you know that more and more task work is being managed through automation technology and that cross-functional teamwork is only growing in significance.

Perhaps a blog post isn’t typically associated with a cross-functional team effort… but a multi-pronged messaging strategy certainly is. Client service is also a team effort. As is product development. Let’s not forget talent alignment, as well as any process-improvement initiative around supply chain or warehouse logistics.

All these business spaces require the meaningful contributions of talented people from different operational and functional areas within a company. And regardless of whatever industry-specific knowledge and skills may be needed on a given team, there are four major roles a contributor can play: Champion, Creator, Facilitator, or Implementer. Your role is determined by a combination of your thinking style (divergent vs. convergent) and your work orientation (people or tasks).

Today, we’re looking at the role of Creator. A Creator is a divergent thinker with a task orientation.

Like the Champion role we discussed last time, the Creator looks at the big picture and considers the long-term outcomes of different options and approaches to problem solving. This person often imagines possibilities no one else would have considered and follows through to develop concepts, designs, or content.

Unlike a Champion, a Creator tends to be a doer. In terms of team roles, Creators may be allies of Champions early on, but then they take the baton to run the next leg. Or maybe the whole rest of the race. Alone.

In other words, Creators tend to be more task focused than people oriented. Whereas a Facilitator might view teamwork as a shared effort, a Creator is more likely to think, “I’ll do my part, you do your part, and then we’ll reconvene at the end.” Sometimes, Creators have a short attention span for discussion and can be impatient with what they view as unnecessary interactions and explanations.

What can Creators do to be more effective in their role? As with any team role, it’s important for Creators to understand other perspectives and value other types of contributions. Creators might especially need to carve out more time for discussion and be prepared to build consensus instead of assuming people will simply comply with their decisions and business approaches.

A team without enough Creators might come away with an underwhelming end result. Someone has to push creativity and deliver innovation, and that’s the purview of the Creator. A team with too many Creators could have difficulty coming to agreement on a course of action and may ultimately devolve into a bunch of people independently working toward the same goal rather than collaborating as a group.

Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, “That description of a Creator sounds a lot like me. But how do I get plotted on a 4-Box and find out for sure?”

The answer: by completing a Caliper assessment.

Based on your unique blend of personality traits, you’ll land somewhere on the convergent/divergent scale in your thinking style and somewhere between task oriented and people oriented in your work approach. If the formula places you somewhere in the upper right quadrant, you’re a Creator.

The next step is finding a way to use that information for improving team effectiveness. The good news: Caliper has a tool for that.

It’s called the Team Roles Report. This report plots your entire team into quadrants on a Caliper 4-Box, enabling you to see the breakdown of Champions, Creators, Facilitators, and Implementers. It also shows your group’s distributions in thinking styles, people skills, and task focus as well as individual team members’ strengths and limitations in those areas.

This report can be a revelation for your team. Not only do you see what’s missing overall (too few people in one quadrant, for example, or too many in another), but you also discover which team members are in the wrong roles. Maybe Ricky, for example, is expected to act as a liaison and step up to provide support to other team members but seems disinterested and has been falling short. Then the Team Roles Report reveals that he has been stuck as a Facilitator all along when he’s actually a Creator. Put plainly, he isn’t playing to his strengths. Sometimes fixing problems with team performance can be as simple as realigning responsibilities.

There are four major reasons you’d want to know if you are a Creator or fit one of the other roles:

  • To make sure you’re in the team role that plays to your strengths
  • To maximize the strengths you bring to the team
  • To help you communicate and collaborate more effectively with fellow team members
  • To see, when your entire team is plotted on a 4-Box graph, where the gaps lie

Next time we’ll talk about the Facilitator quadrant. Meanwhile, if you’re ready to learn more about how the 4-Box can help improve the effectiveness of your team, department, or small company, you know where to find us (i.e., scroll down for contact info and options).