Task and Maintenance Roles in Groups

Task Roles These roles help to get the job done. They often appear to need tough and single minded people in them. They relate to the rationale (life of the group) Maintenance Roles These roles provide the Ďoilí for the machinery. They look after the emotional life of the group, help make it work, consider the needs of individuals. They open up the channels of communication.

You need both roles present in a group

Types of people in Task Roles


Start things off; or helps change direction. Initially often the leader.


Takes individual contributions and clarifies them - encourages people to be specific "are you saying that ...", "it seems to me what you are saying is ..."

Information giver

Gives or volunteers to find out certain information. It may relate to the exact structure of the task.

The questioner

Asks fundamental questions about the task of the group. Main factor is the ability to step back from what is going on and challenge assumptions.

The summariser

Does not add anything (or much) but provides the facility of checking what has been achieved. Provides breathing space. Can be a formal role in a group.

Types of people in Maintenance Roles

The supporter

Provides warmth to individuals "yes, I think thatís a good point", "that was really helpful" etc. Non-verbal support - a mistake to see these as non-contributors.

The joker

Allows the group to let off steam.

Sharing experience

"That happened to me" - helps breakthrough to the personal level.

Process observer

Often shows himself when the group gets stuck. Helps unblock group dynamics.