jambit ToiletPaper #115

Role Selection

Problem: Role Assignment within a Team

You probably know that situation: you have a role to assign on the team and you're wondering how to find someone to fill it. Who fits in? Who has time? Who is qualified?

Solution: Role Selection

What does that look like practically? For example, if you need someone in your meeting to make sure the focus is kept, here's what to do:

Which are the roles?

First, you present a role description.

  • Description of the role & qualification
  • Possible restrictions etc.

You might add a few examples like "Focus means to concentrate on the task", "Focus means, for example, that the cell phones are turned off."


You ask the team whether everyone has understood the description of the role – if necessary, you clarify relevant questions. Then everyone in the team takes a piece of paper and a pencil and covertly writes down a nomination, which they think should fill in this role. Then we listen to the nominations and the arguments for them.

What else to know?

After completing the round, you collect relevant and important information. Note – at this point you are not discussing – only information is needed now. Example: You nominate a person who should hold this “focus role”, but the person is on vacation at the relevant date. If you feel you gathered all the important information, it's time to start the round.


Everyone has another opportunity to reconsider their nomination, to change it, or to retain it. Everybody reads out their nomination again and presents the reasons for changing something or for sticking with it.


After this round you will have one, two or even more nominations. These are your nominees! Now it's time to hear objections* (arguments against the nominee). It has to be discussed if someone has objections and try to find a solution. Possibly nominations will be dropped now. As moderator you can now leave it to the remaining nominees to decide who can fill in this role the best way.

Celebrate your result!

If you have reached an agreement – voilà, you have assigned a role in the team in a fast and effective way. Now it’s time to celebrate – hurray!

Advantages of „Role Selection“

  • A person (e.g. the manager) may be mistaken. The whole team can also be wrong, but it is less likely.
  • You strengthen self-organization and self-responsibility in your team
  • The “role owner” has the support of the team and feels great – because the role owner knows the reasons why holding this position/role

In case of any questions, you might check out Sociocracy 3.0. You can also find "Resolve Objection" here – a way to deal with objections and come to a solution. Both belong to the so-called Patterns of Sociocracy 3.0.


Author: Martin Aigner / Senior Project Manager/ Business Division Automotive Bavaria

Role Selection: Assigning roles in teams (Sociocracy 3.0 Pattern)

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