Know thyself. I’m pretty sure it was someone quite famous who said that. Socrates perhaps. If you recall, last week we were reflecting on the top job skills of the future, and this week I want to build on that by considering the personal strengths and weaknesses you may have as an individual. One thing that struck me about last week’s list of job skills was how many of the top ten were people and team oriented…people management, coordinating with others, and negotiation to mention just a few. Teamwork is an integral part of business, and the more you know about how you fit into that landscape the better and more effective a team player you will be.
Enter Meredith Belbin, a well known figure within the business world, and a leading researcher and management theorist. Belbin developed his archetypal team roles from near on a decade of studied observation of individuals in team scenarios undertaken at Henley Management College. So, without further ado, here is an overview of the nine Belbin team roles. Have a good read through and see what you can pick out in yourself. I’m sure you’ll be able to gain some valuable insights.
Belbin Team Role Number 1: The Resource Investigator
Uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team.
Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. Explores opportunities and develops contacts.
Allowable weaknesses: Might be over-optimistic, and can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They might forget to follow up on a lead.
Belbin Team Role Number 2: The Teamworker
Helps the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens and averts friction.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be indecisive in crunch situations and tends to avoid confrontation.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They might be hesitant to make unpopular decisions.
Belbin Team Role Number 3: The Co-ordinator
Needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent. Clarifies goals.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be seen as manipulative and might offload their own share of the work.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They might over-delegate, leaving themselves little work to do.
Belbin Team Role Number 4: The Plant
Tends to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
Strengths: Creative, imaginative, free-thinking, generates ideas and solves difficult problems.
Allowable weaknesses: Might ignore incidentals, and may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They could be absent-minded or forgetful.
Belbin Team Role Number 5: The Monitor Evaluator
Provides a logical eye, making impartial judgements where required and weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all options and judges accurately.
Allowable weaknesses: Sometimes lacks the drive and ability to inspire others and can be overly critical.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They could be slow to come to decisions.
Belbin Team Role Number 6: The Specialist
Brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
Strengths: Single-minded, self-starting and dedicated. They provide specialist knowledge and skills.
Allowable weaknesses: Tends to contribute on a narrow front and can dwell on the technicalities.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They overload you with information.
Belbin Team Role Number 7: The Shaper
Provides the necessary drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
Strengths: Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be prone to provocation, and may sometimes offend people’s feelings.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They could risk becoming aggressive and bad-humoured in their attempts to get things done.
Belbin Team Role Number 8: The Implementer
Needed to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
Strengths: Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organises work that needs to be done.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be a bit inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They might be slow to relinquish their plans in favour of positive changes.
Belbin Team Role Number 9: The Completer Finisher
Most effectively used at the end of tasks to polish and scrutinise the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
Strengths: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors. Polishes and perfects.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be inclined to worry unduly, and reluctant to delegate.
Don’t be surprised to find that: They could be accused of taking their perfectionism to extremes.
What about you? Do you think Belbin was right with his categorizations? Which of these do you see in yourself?