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Team Roles: The Responsibility Is Yours

by Julie L. Genjac

Clearly defining what role each person on your team plays

Julie L. Genjac
Julie is a Managing Director of Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. She works with financial advisors in a practice management capacity, including engaging and educating advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial- services marketplace. She is a registered corporate coach and has spent the last two decades helping hundreds of financial advisor teams create a vision for their practice and serving as their accountability partner in order to execute on that vision.

No matter how you define your financial advisor “team”—whether it consists of multiple advisors and staff, or one advisor with a support person (or support team), etc., each person has an important role to play. When was the last time you asked yourself if you’re fulfilling your ideal role on your team? Does your role align with your natural (or acquired) skills and abilities?


In Teams, There Are Three General Job Functions

They fall into these categories: Finder, Minder, and Grinder. Each role is extremely important—yet requires different skills, abilities, and focus. An effective team will fulfill all three (even if one person is wearing “multiple hats”).

FINDER: This is the person who is constantly engaged in new business acquisition; they are constantly drumming up new business and leads. This is what we would typically call “the rainmaker.”

MINDER: This is the person who is great at building and nurturing relationships, oversees the team, and manages processes. They are essentially the “glue” that holds the team together.

GRINDER: This is the person who gets things done, day in and day out. They are detail-oriented and task-oriented; they are the “do-ers.”


Think about your current team and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who falls into which category?
  • Is each person having success in his or her current role?
  • Does each person know how he or she is being measured?
  • Are the measurement methods formally documented?
  • Does each member of the team know who’s holding them accountable?
  • Does your team have a positive team dynamic? How would you describe your team “culture”?
  • Think about the last period of team friction (this could be a small stumble or a larger, more robust issue)
  • Did your team engage in open, honest conversation in order to discuss what happened and find a path forward?
  • Were feelings hurt? Were things said that were later regretted?

If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, it’s time to sit down and reassess (or create) formally documented roles and responsibilities for each member of your team. Teams are relationships, and relationships are challenging. They require work and attention each day in order to be nurtured. Starting at the root of the team, and reassessing roles and responsibilities can be a very valuable exercise, even for high functioning teams.


As a starting point in this exercise, consider the following:

  • Ask each team member to define his or her strengths, gaps, and passions
  • Schedule a team meeting to share these thoughts with each other
  • Discuss with each other to see if other team members perceive you the same way Chances are that as you go through this exercise, you’ll learn a lot about each other, and just as importantly, you’ll learn about yourself through the process.


Reflect on the role that each person is filling today

Evaluate how their roles align with the strengths and gaps identified during the team meeting.

Are there any modifications (within reason, of course!) that could be made to team member responsibilities that may create more synergy among the team and may provide people with more job satisfaction?

For example, a person may have been put in a “rainmaker” (or “Finder” role), but he/she isn’t passionate about it or isn’t having success in the role. Meanwhile, another team member is very well connected in the community, very extroverted, and loves the thrill of “the hunt.”


Could these two individuals work together on finding new business?

The original team member tasked with this would feel supported, and the team member who naturally enjoys this type of work would certainly appreciate the opportunity to use (and hone) this innate skill set.


Document, Document, Document

  • Be sure to create a written Team Organizational chart that lists each team member’s name and title
  • Formally document the core items for which each person is responsible for executing
  • Also document what success in each of those objectives looks like. Is the metric: 
  • Measurable
  • Monitorable
  • Concrete
  • Clear

If each person on the team understands what he/she is responsible for and how success is measured, you’ll find that every person is pulling in the same direction, tasks are not duplicated, and team members can help each other when necessary. Many firms offer behavioral assessments. Has your team taken one in the past that’s current sitting in a drawer or in your electronic files? These assessments, although they don’t paint the full picture, can be very helpful when going through this exercise. Dust yours off, or ask your training, professional development, or HR department if you might be able to access an assessment for your team.

Next Steps

  1. Ask your team members to write down all of the things that they’re responsible for and meet one-on-one meetings to discuss each person’s list
  2. Reflect on those discussions and your team's current roles
  3. Meet with your team to create streamlined roles and metrics for each member