The Building Blocks of a Balanced Team


Have you ever wondered why some teams achieve their goals practically every time while others seem doomed to repeated failure? One explanation could be the makeup of the team. All teams are created from a variety of people and thus a variety of personality and work styles. When these styles work in harmony, a synergy is present that inevitably leads to success. When the styles are in conflict so is the team. That leaves the question, “What can I do to ensure the creation of balanced teams?” Generally speaking, there are four team-player styles. While each style has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, some work in accord with each other and some do not. In order to ensure you create balanced teams, look to these building blocks for help with laying a sound foundation.

The Contributor

The Contributor is task-oriented and loves collecting and providing information and data to the team. He/she focuses on high performance standards and effective use of resources. The Contributor is most often dependable, proficient, systematic, and efficient; however, weaknesses include a narrow vision, impatience, perfectionism, and fear of risk taking.


The Collaborator

A goal-directed visionary, The Collaborator is open to new ideas and embraces opportunities to assist other team members outside his/her normal scope of responsibility. He/she willingly shares the limelight and works diligently toward accomplishing team goals even if he/she is in disagreement, but often falls short by being too future-focused, not task-oriented, unrealistic, and a dreamer.


The Communicator

As you might assume, The Communicator is process-oriented and a good listener. He/she works to get each team member involved, resolves conflicts and maintains peace, and upholds a positive outlook. The Communicator’s weaknesses include the potential to be shortsighted, a failure to express his/her opinion when doing so would challenge or contradict other team members, and the tendency to be manipulative and impractical on occasion.


The Challenger

This team member is the one who can be counted on to express his/her opinion openly and honestly. The Challenger is willing to oppose the team leader in order to help the team take well-calculated risks. He/she needs to work on his/her weaknesses that include becoming rigid, arrogant, self-righteous, and/or obstinate.


It is very possible, even highly probable, that your team members’ styles are a combination of the ones listed above. Therefore, the challenge lies in building teams that consist of the right combination of styles so that all functions (the tasks, the goals, the processes, and the questions) are equally addressed.

The combination of The Contributor and The Communicator is likely as close as we could get to the “perfect” team member. Because those possessing these traits have a talent for focusing on both the process and the task, they are able to encourage others toward excellence while creating an environment that is comfortable to work in. A word of caution: those with this team-member style may be hesitant to criticize for fear of rocking the boat. While it may be a bit of a balancing act, once you have the right building blocks from which to construct your teams, you’ll see results more consistently. You’ll also find the benefits that team members and the organization receive are greatly increased.