At Belbin, we use assessments referred to Observer Assessments (OA) in addition to self-reporting. Your Belbin Self-Perception profile (SPI) gives you an idea of how you see your role within a team. However, the characteristics you identify may not be the behaviour that others would pinpoint or value. The Observer Assessment should be completed by those who work or have worked recently with the person they are asked to assess.
Observer Assessments are Belbin's method for obtaining 360-degree feedback (also written 360 degree feedback). This process entails approaching managers, colleagues and those you manage (where applicable) and asking them to complete a short assessment on you. The Observer Assessment takes 5-10 minutes to complete and consists of two ticklists of adjectives, which observers tick according to whether or not they feel the adjectives apply to your behaviour or working style.
Observer Assessments inform your Belbin report, adding four pages to your report which compare your view of your Team Roles to those who work with you. This process is very important to your Belbin assessment, because it is a behavioural, rather than a psychometric or personality test, so measures the behaviour you exhibit and how this affects those with whom you interact.
WHY USE 360-degree feedback?
More broadly, 360-degree feedback is a means of obtaining an interactive evaluation based on the opinions of your team, as well as your own view. This feedback often provides a useful starting-point for staff performance appraisals and performance reviews. It is invaluable in planning and strategy, as well as for team building and conflict resolution.
What about the COST?
We believe that Observer Assessments are a very important part of the Belbin process and,when used correctly, a valuable addition to any Belbin report. They contribute greatly to the validity of the Belbin assessment. For this reason, Belbin doesn't charge for Observer Assessments - you only ever pay for Self-Perception reports.
Dealing with 360-degree feedback in NEW TEAMS
If the team is newly-formed (or you are using the Belbin report for graduate recruitment, assessment centres and the like) it may not be appropriate to use Observer Assessments, since the individuals being profiled will not know one another well enough in a work context to produce a useful report.
In this instance, we would recommend completing the Observer Assessments at a later date, when the team has had a chance to integrate. This is why all our testing allows for the completion of 360-degree feedback after the fact. Once the initial Self-Perception Inventory has been completed, you will receive a four-page report. On completion of four or more Observers, an eight-page report will be produced. (See sample report for details).
For more information on Observer Assessments and why you should use them, please see our FAQs.
How do I find out MY Team Role preferences?
To find out which of the nine Team Roles you have a tendency towards and what this means in the workplace, the first step is to complete the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory.
This takes about 20 minutes to complete, and a report is automatically generated and sent back to you online. You can add depth and context to your report by asking people who work with you to complete an Observer Assessment. This will help you see not only which roles you prefer, but which ones your colleagues see and value!