Theories of Belbin
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Theories of belbin
The co-ordinator is a person-oriented leader. This person is trusting, accepting, dominant and is committed to team goals and objectives. The co-ordinator is a positive thinker who approves of goal attainment, struggle and effort in others. The co-ordinator is someone tolerant enough always to listen to others, but strong enough to reject their advice.
The co-ordinator may not stand out in a team and usually does not have a sharp intellect.
The shaper is a task-focused leader who abounds in nervous energy, who has a high motivation to achieve and for whom winning is the name of the game. The shaper is committed to achieving ends and will ‘shape’ others into achieving the aims of the team.
He or she will challenge, argue or disagree and will display aggression in the pursuit of goal achievement. Two or three shapers in a group, according to Belbin, can lead to conflict, aggravation and in-fighting.
The plant is a specialist idea maker characterised by high IQ and introversion while also being dominant and original. The plant tends to take radical approaches to team functioning and problems. Plants are more concerned with major issues than with details.
Weaknesses are a tendency to disregard practical details and argumentativeness.
The resource investigator is the executive who is never in his room, and if he is, he is on the telephone. The resource investigator is someone who explores opportunities and develops contacts. Resource investigators are good negotiators who probe others for information and support and pick up other’s ideas and develop them. They are characterised by sociability and enthusiasm and are good at liaison work and exploring resources outside the group.
Weaknesses are a tendency to lose interest after initial fascination with an idea, and they are not usually the source of original ideas.
Company worker/ implementer
Implementers are aware of external obligations and are disciplined, conscientious and have a good self-image. They tend to be tough-minded and practical, trusting and tolerant, respecting established traditions. They are characterised by low anxiety and tend to work for the team in a practical, realistic way. Implementers figure prominently in positions of responsibility in larger organisations. They tend to do the jobs that others do not want to do and do them well: for example, disciplining employees.
Implementers are conservative, inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.
According to the model, this is a judicious, prudent, intelligent person with a low need to achieve. Monitor evaluators contribute particularly at times of crucial decision making because they are capable of evaluating competing proposals. The monitor evaluator is not deflected by emotional arguments, is serious minded, tends to be slow in coming to a decision because of a need to think things over and takes pride in never being wrong.
Weaknesses are that they may appear dry and boring or even over-critical. They are not good at inspiring others. Those in high level appointments are often monitor evaluators.
Team workers make helpful interventions to avert potential friction and enable difficult characters within the team to use their skills to positive ends. They tend to keep team spirit up and allow other members to contribute effectively. Their diplomatic skills together with their sense of humour are assets to a team. They tend to have skills in listening, coping with awkward people and to be sociable. sensitive and people oriented.
They tend to be indecisive in moments of crisis and reluctant to do things that might hurt others.
The completer finisher dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. He or she gives attention to detail, aims to complete and to do so thoroughly. They make steady effort and are consistent in their work. They are not so interested in the glamour of spectacular success.
Weaknesses, according to Belbin, are that they tend to be over anxious and have difficulty letting go and delegating work.
The specialist provides knowledge and technical skills which are in rare supply within the team. They are often highly introverted and anxious and tend to be self-starting, dedicated and committed.
Their weaknesses are single-mindedness and a lack of interest in other peoples’ subjects
Belbin Team Roles
Dr Meredith Belbin, UK academic and consultant developed the BelbinÂ® team roles model in the late 1970s. Belbin’s work at Henley Management College demonstrated that balanced teams comprising people with different capabilities performed better than teams that are less well balanced. Belbin’s key book ‘Management Teams – Why They Succeed or Fail’, was first published in 1981. According to Belbin publicity (Belbin founded Belbin Associates, who produce and provide psychometrics (personality and behavioural testing) instruments and other related services based on Belbin’s theories) the Belbin Team Roles model is used by over 40% of the UK’s top 100 companies, and thousands more internationally.
N.B. The Belbin Team Role model and certain related teminology is Â© Belbin Associates – if in doubt about usage check with Belbin. The use of Belbin tests and training materials is subject to licence from Belbin.
Meredith Belbin initially identified a set of eight roles, which, it is argued, are all present in a team provide good balance and increase likelihood of success. The eight roles were later increased to nine, with the addition of the ‘Specialist’ role. Presumably due to political correctness and changing attitudes in organisations, the names of certain roles have been altered in recent years. Below are the modern role names and brief descriptions, with notes of what they were previously called where appropriate.
There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ roles. People are as they are, and all roles play important parts in successful teams.
Belbin suggested that certain roles tend to be more extraverted (outgoing, proactive, outward-looking) while other roles tend to be more introverted (inward-looking, reactive). These days less emphasis is placed on whether a role was considered extravert or introvert, but for the record, the roles originally presented as extravert are indicated with an asterisk* within the roles listing and descriptions below:
belbin team roles and descriptions
It is not easy to correlate precisely the Belbin team roles to specific personality types in other personality models, although there are certain common elements, for example Extraverted and Introverted roles, which are colour coded appropriately below. There are also some useful correlations with the Big Five Factors model. This colour-coding does not form part of the original Belbin theory, it simply aims to assist comparisons with other models explained in this section.
strengths and styles
able to get others working to a shared aim; confident, mature – (originally called ‘Chairman’ by Belbin)
motivated, energetic, achievement-driven, assertive, competitive
innovative, inventive, creative, original, imaginative, unorthodox, problem-solving
serious, prudent, critical thinker, analytical
systematic, common sense, loyal, structured, reliable, dependable, practicable, efficient (originally called ‘Company Workers’)
Resource Investigator (RI)*
quick, good communicator, networker, outgoing, affable, seeks and finds options, negotiator
Team Worker (TW)
supportive, sociable, flexible, adaptable, perceptive, listener, calming influence, mediator
attention to detail, accurate, high standards, quality orientated, delivers to schedule and specification
technical expert, highly focused capability and knowledge, driven by professional standards and dedication to personal subject area
Belbin suggested these roles are more extravert than introvert.
N.B. It does not follow that extraverted roles are always self-motivating. Neither does it follow that introverted roles need ‘motivating’ or instructing. The proactivity, direction, attitude and motivation of any roles, in a Belbin context (as for any other personality profiling system), depend on a wide variety of factors, including alignment of organisational and personal aims and values, personal circumstances, emotional maturity, life-stage, leadership influences, reward systems, and more. Greater understanding of these issues can be achieved by considering many different behavioural perspectives, theories and models.
The simplest central point relating to motivation is that different people respond to different stimuli. Therefore the more we understand about ourselves and people, then the more we understand about what motivates us.
People are more motivated and happy when they are performing and working in a way that is natural to them. Expecting a person with a particular personality type (be it represented by a Belbin team role, a Jung psychological type, a Myers BriggsÂ® MBTIÂ®, or whatever) to perform well and enthusiastically in a role that is foreign or alien to their natural preferences and strengths is not helpful for anyone.
The UK DTI quality management guidance notes provides further some useful interpretation of the parts that these roles play in teams:
‘Belbin team roles’ within teams
The Coordinator clarifies group objectives, sets the agenda, establishes priorities, selects problems, sums up and is decisive, but does not dominate discussions.
The Shaper gives shape to the team effort, looking for pattern in discussions and practical considerations regarding the feasibility of the project. Can steamroller the team, but gets results.
- The Plant is the source of original ideas, suggestions and proposals that are usually original and radical.
- The Monitor-Evaluator contributes a measured and dispassionate analysis and, through objectivity, stops the team committing itself to a misguided task.
- The Implementer turns decisions and strategies into defined and manageable tasks, sorting out objectives and pursuing them logically.
- The Resource Investigator goes outside the team to bring in ideas, information and developments to it.
- They are the team’s sales-person, diplomat, liaison officer and explorer.
- The Team Worker operates against division and disruption in the team, like cement, particularly in times of stress and pressure.
- The Finisher maintains a permanent sense of urgency with relentless follow-through.
All of these roles have value and are missed when not in a team; there are no stars or extras.
An individual’s team role can be determined by the completion of a Belbin questionnaire. It is not essential that teams comprise eight people each fulfilling one of the roles above, but that people who are aware and capable of carrying out these roles should be present.
In small teams, people can, and do, assume more than one role.
In addition, analysing existing teams and their performance or behaviour, using these team role concepts, can lead to improvements, for example:
- Conflict requires a team worker or strong coordinato
- Mediocre performance needs a resource investigator, innovator or shaper
- Error prone teams need an evaluator
- Under-achievement demands a good coordinator or finisher
Different roles are important in different circumstances, for example:
- New teams need a strong shaper to get started.
- Competitive situations demand an innovator with good ideas.
- In areas of high risk, a good evaluator may be needed.
- Teams should, therefore, be analysed both in terms of what team roles members can play, and also in relation to what team skills are most needed.
Despite having well defined roles within a team, the interaction between the different personalities of individuals can be a frequent source of friction. However, this can largely be avoided by understanding and valuing people’s differences.
(The above notes about Belbin team roles within teams are UK DTI quality management guidance notes and are Crown Copyright.)
http://www.teambuilding.co.uk/belbin-team-role.html isko check ker lio ek baar
Belbin profiles, team games and exercises are frequently used for recruitment purposes, whether to assess candidates from outside the organisation, compare candidates for promotion or to scrutinise a shortlist for a graduate scheme. If you are looking to use Belbin in recruitment, there are many options available to you.
Further ismein hai…
Q Can you please explain the advantages and disadvantages of Belbin profiling?
A I think the main advantage is in how it provides a non-confrontational and non-hierarchical language to describe a person’s natural behavioural tendencies. The fact that it is behavioural based (rather than a psychometric assessment) and easily understood and used by people at all levels in an organisation is of course a big advantage, plus of course the facility for observer feedback.
The main disadvantage is that as behaviour is more open to change the assessments need to be done a reasonably regular intervals. This may however be regarded as an advantage and something that should be encouraged.
Q Can you please tell me how the Belbin Team Role inventory can be used to improve team performance?
A TheBelbinTeam Role model can be used to improve team performance in a number of ways. Here are four of them:
- It helps each person to be clear about their natural contribution when working in a team.
- By sharing this information between team members each person is aware of the role of other team members and can use this information to improve synergy.
- By analysing the Team Roles of the whole team the team balance can be checked and steps taken to remedy any imbalance.
- Hierarchy within teams is de-emphasised and individual contributions are encouraged on merit as teams apply the Team Role model.
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