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Partnership Pitfall #4: Unclear roles and responsibilities

Last week, we focused on the partnership pitfall of unrealistic expectations for coalition members. As you reflected on the types of roles that may be unrealistic, you may have realized that you also are experiencing the next “partnership pitfall” related to unclear roles and responsibilities. As a coalition leader, it is easy to “assume” that everyone knows what role(s) they are playing as part of the coalition. If you are working in a coalition with like-minded organizations, it is easy to encounter competition among the organizations and confusion about roles in the coalition. You may also have different expectations for the roles of staff, leaders and coalition members. If you are unsure what you want your coalition members to do or if you are experiencing competition among organizations in your coalition, you may need to clarify roles and responsibilities. Join me this week as I highlight four steps to take toward overcoming the partnership pitfall of “unclear roles and responsibilities.”

  1. Review your coalition priorities and projects. Review the list you made last week related to roles for coalition members and staff. Who is involved in each project? What are your current priorities? Do you have any existing coalition communication documents or resources that define the roles for participation in these priorities and projects?
  2. Ask for feedback from staff and coalition members about their roles. If you addressed last week’s pitfall, you may already have a working document about roles and need to review and update it based on what you learned. You also want to get feedback from staff for feedback on their roles and how you will work together with coalition members. 
  3. Clarify roles with coalition members involved in the priorities and projects. if you have a work plan or action plan, include information about specific roles for each organization participating in each task or activity. The more specific you can be about roles for each member or organization to play, the more helpful it can be for the coalition members and staff to have realistic expectations.
  4. Communicate roles. Develop communication document(s) that highlights roles for coalition members and staff on each project, priority or activity. When you have new coalition members joining a workgroup or a team, identify what role(s) they would like to play and how they can participate in the project. 

So what about you? What are you going to do this week to clarify roles with your coalition members?

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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