01 Oct Nine Personalities at Work: Who Makes up a Team?
This blog is about the importance of a balance of personalities and abilities in any team. It concentrates on the Belbin theory of team members. A Belbin ‘Team Role’ is one of nine clusters of behavioural attributes identified by Dr Meredith Belbin’s research. We outline all nine further down this blog, so you can see how you fit in!
It was discovered that the most successful teams were made up of a diverse mix of behaviours. To become high-performing, every team needs access to each of the nine behaviours. The theory also suggests that the best teams have around four people. Too many more than that can affect the cohesion of the team. This is not contradictory because actually most of us in a team situation are capable of fulfilling more than one role. We can also change our ‘type’ over time.
Identifying each team member as a behavioural ‘type’ helps us to appreciate them for their individual strengths. It also helps managers to put together the best and most effective teams, as well as enhance the performance of their existing ones. Ultimately it ensures everyone in the work environment feels they are making a difference.
The Nine Team Roles Explained
Enthusiastic and outgoing with an inquisitive nature. Good at exploring opportunities and developing contacts. They find ideas to bring back to the team. Prone to losing interest too quickly after the initial ‘win’, they can fail to capitalise on leads. Their approach can be seen as overly optimistic.
A versatile team player with great people skills, who is co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. They identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team. Good at averting friction. However, can be indecisive in crunch situations and hesitant to make unpopular decisions.
A confident and focused clarifier of goals. They identify the team’s objectives, drawing out team members and delegating work appropriately. But can be seen as manipulative and prone to over-delegation, so might offload their own share of the work.
Highly creative, imaginative, free-thinking, and great at solving difficult problems in unconventional ways. An ideas generator. But can be absent minded, forgetful, neglectful of some details, or too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
Strategic, discerning and able to judge all options wisely. Provides a logical eye. Evaluates the team’s options in a dispassionate way. But can lack the drive to inspire others and tends to be overly critical. Also sometimes slow to come to decisions.
Single-minded, self-starting and dedicated, they provide specialist skills and bring in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team. However, can think too narrowly and dwell too much on the technicalities. Prone to overloading you with information.
A challenging, dynamic and courageous personality who thrives on pressure. They provide the necessary drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum. But they can provoke others or upset their feelings. Getting things done can come at a cost if they become aggressive in the course of fulfilling their goal.
A steady, practical and reliable organiser who turns ideas into action. A necessary person to have around to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible. However, they can be inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities, clinging instead to their original plans.
A perfectionist who is painstaking and conscientious in searching out errors. Most effectively used as ‘quality control’ at the end of tasks to scrutinise the work and pick up mistakes that others have missed. This is someone who can be inclined to worry unduly, fretting over small imperfections. Also reluctant to delegate.
It’s certainly food for thought: Which one(s) are you? And do you have a good balance in your team?