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The FIRO-B and Team Roles: Mismatches


The FIRO-B helps us clarify many interpersonal issues. One such issue is team mismatches. This issue we'll look at the problems surrounding mismatches regarding Wanted Inclusion.

For those whose lowest wanted need is Inclusion, there are several challenges with a team that is expressing a great deal of inclusion. If this is the team's highest expressed need, it's clear you'll have the greatest separation to overcome.

Some ways you might express your discomfort with the team in this example might include skipping meetings, not listening to conversations (tuning out), sitting farther away at meetings, turning your body away from the group, doing other work during meetings, or keeping your head down when others speak. If Expressed Inclusion is your lowest score, you're less likely to exhibit these behaviors. You might have learned that some behaviors are considered unacceptable in your environment, so you no longer do them. Note that your frustration is likely to remain the same. Your expression of that frustration will likely be different.

Of course, the opposite scenario could also happen. If your highest wanted need is Inclusion and the team expresses too little inclusion, you're likely to have a different reaction. Some behaviors you might see include sharing more information that you know, asking for the opportunity to share your thoughts and views, asking that the others fill you in on the background information, asking everyone on the team to express his or her opinion, arriving early for meetings and sitting in the middle, and offering the team a written proposal, report, example, or model. In each of the above examples, the purpose is to foster a more inclusive team environment. If the team resists your efforts, conflict might result.

As is so often the case, knowing more about the team composition and the expressed and wanted needs of the team members will contribute to a more effective group. We are most likely to get into trouble when we sense something is wrong, but cannot identify it. That's one reason tools such as the FIRO-B are so useful.


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