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What’s in a team?

The Beginners Guide to a High-performance Workforce

February 11, 2018 © Copyright Glomacs
You can choose your friends, but rarely do you get the chance to choose your teammates. Oh, I know what you are going to say, you get the opportunity to interview your team members, but do you really get to know them? A pile of CVs land on your desk and you select what you consider to be the best from their qualifications and experience. Then you interview them: a short exposure to the person, who, of course is on their best behaviour and finally, you make the offer for them to join the team. 

The future of your relationship with this person rests on a decision made in minutes rather than hours.

I know there are other considerations that you make; will this person fit in with everyone else? Will they bring something different to the team? Fill the gap? Obviously, the answers to these questions have to be Yes; otherwise you wouldn’t have chosen them in the first place.

What would be different if you had the opportunity to choose your new team from scratch? What would you be looking for then? Would you select people you would want as friends? After all, we all like to work with people like ourselves; Or would you appoint people who were suitable for the post, even though they are very different to yourself? It’s a hard call; one you have to be honest about.

There are some of us who would appoint people on a gut feeling – very scientific! Others would interview all the candidates and dissect their CVs in fine detail and then agonize for days or even weeks to ensure they make the right decision. Which is the right method for staff selection? The answer is neither, and both!

Confused? Team selection and team development is not easy. In fact, we all get it horribly wrong at sometime in our careers. Sometimes a fantastic candidate on paper can be a disaster in the workplace and vice versa.

There are dozens of good books written about recruitment and team building and they all say roughly the same thing; you need to build a team that compliment each other in personality, ability and behavioural flexibility. So what does this all mean?

In the 1970s Professor Meredith Belbin realized that teams have personalities of their own, made up of members who exhibit a series of characteristics. Originally, he described eight different profiles; however, on review he discovered in fact that there were nine.

Belbin stated that an efficient and productive team needs all nine profiles, and yet the ideal team is made up of only six people. In other words, each of us exhibits behaviours of several of the profiles. In fact, most of us have a spectrum of all of the nine. Three are the principals, three are secondary and three are weaknesses. The Belbin team roles break down as follows:

  1. Plants are creative, imaginative, unorthodox and solve difficult problems: however, they tend to ignore detail and can be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
  2. Resource Investigators are extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative, explore opportunities and develop contacts: however, they tend to be over optimistic, and lose interest once initial enthusiasm has passed.
  3. Co-ordinators are mature and confident, good chair, clarify goals, promote decision-making and delegate well: however, they can be seen as manipulative and tend to delegate personal work.
  4. Shapers are challenging, dynamic, thrive on pressure, have drive and courage to overcome obstacles: however, they can provoke others and hurt people’s feelings.
  5. Monitor Evaluators are sober, strategic and discerning, see all options and judge accurately: however, they lack drive, and ability to inspire others, and are sometimes seen as overtly critical.
  6. Team Workers are co-operative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic, good listeners, excellent at building relationships, able to avert friction and calm the waters: however, they tend to be indecisive in crunch situations and can be easily influenced.
  7. Implementers are disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient, turning ideas into practical actions: however, they are somewhat inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities
  8. Completer Finishers are painstakingly conscientious, can search out errors and omissions and always deliver on time: however, they tend to be anxious, worry unduly, are reluctant to delegate, and can be caught up in minute detail
  9. Specialists are single minded, self starting, dedicated; provide knowledge and skills in rare supply: however, they tend to contribute on only a narrow front, dwell on technicalities, and overlook the big picture.

Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of your team can ensure that you use the right team member to complete each task. This method of profiling is now recognized internationally and, in many cases, used for selection methods within many organizations. Many of you will have completed a self-perception form in your workplace. It is important to remember though that this is a snapshot of how you see yourself. We all see ourselves differently to how others see us. Most Belbin accredited training companies, including ourselves can offer you a full assessment for you and your team at a very reasonable cost.

So, what about behavioural flexibility? It probably won’t come as a surprise to you to know that we are all different: you may not know though that we are in fact dis-similar to seventy five percent of the population. In other words, three out of four people display different behavioural patterns to yourself. How does this impact upon teamwork? In many cases, it is a major factor in the effectiveness, or lack of it, in teamwork.

So, what is the reason to use Belbin team roles? Firstly, you are able to use behavioural styles to identify the right person for the right job. There is no point in placing a Completer Finisher, or Implementer person in a job where you need a quick decision or giving a Plant the task of completing a complicated spreadsheet. That is not to say that they wouldn’t be able to complete the task, it is just that their skills would be better utilised in more complimentary areas.

So, teambuilding isn’t as easy as it looks: there are many factors to be considered. Many organisations leave teambuilding to luck, others ask for advice.

This is an article written by Mr. Greg Bevan-Jones, Senior Facilitator with GLOMACS specialising in Body Language; Advanced Influencing Skills; Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP); Communication; Motivational Traits and Behaviours; Personal and Team Development; Leadership and Supervisory Management; Presentation Skills; Public Speaking and Platform Skills; Change Management.

Greg will be presenting the much anticipated GLOMACS development training seminar The Competent Manager in London at The Grosvenor House Hotel from 26 Feb – 02 Mar 2018.

This comprehensive development training seminar will give you the tools and skills you will need to manage your team and be a Competent Manager covering all aspects of modern management, this is your opportunity to learn and practice a whole range of tried and tested and cutting-edge techniques for managing people. You will leave the training seminar with added confidence to get the very best out of your team and manage in a way that will motivate and inspire your team to achieve greater results and work in a more productive way. By using the techniques learned on this training course you will soon be seen within your organisation as a Competent Manager.

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