In the words of Meredith Belbin:
" I think we've always been striving to find a way of helping people to work together. When people work in effective combinations they achieve so much more than when they're working alone. But to do that we need a language, and it needs to be a language which is shared and enables people to communicate with one another...."
So where can the language of Belbin be used?
Teams offer diversity, promote learning opportunities, address more complex problems, offer flexibility, deliver faster results and can mirror organisational values. Teams don’t just make us better workers, they make us better people. Belbin can help:
- Select people to form high-performing teams
- Develop and coach existing teams
- Maximise the use of virtual teams
- Multi-functional teams
- Project teams
In Management Training
One of the key things that managers need to address, is understanding and utilising the natural talents and motivations of their staff. They can do this by using their own gut feelings or they can do it in a more structured way by using Belbin to identify these behavioural talents, preferences and motivations. The Belbin Individual reports provide a rich source of information and the deep insight managers need to get the best out of each person in their team. Belbin can:
- Help managers make the transformation from being effective process managers to becoming outstanding people managers
- Give managers a language to be able to talk about the way they interact and interrelate with others. The key aspect to being a great manager is the level of self-insight. When a manager understands their own strengths and weaknesses, they are able help others use theirs
- Enable managers to put together their own great teams!
For Personal Development and Coaching
Time and time again we hear of professionals reaching their 'desired role' only to find them suffering from stress shortly after. The Job role they have been striving and working towards had a title and level of responsibility that the individual wanted, but the actual role itself required particular behaviour that didn't fit with the individuals preferred Belbin Team Roles. By using the Belbin reports;
- Advice can be given and discussions started about whether the desired career path is both wise and 'doable'
- Alternatives can be discussed, and training gap analysis taken
- Individuals can raise their level of self-awareness and personal effectiveness
In Recruitment and Career Development
The synergy – or lack of synergy – between a person and a job can be mysterious and difficult to explain. Given that two candidates look similar on paper, why is one successful in a role and another not? The language and understanding of Belbin Team Roles can help when:
- Making decisions about which individuals to recruit or promote
- Providing individuals with the information they need to take the next step on their career path
- Putting together graduate recruitment strategies or assessment centres
- Trying to identify the gaps in teams which need filling!
For Conflict Management
Conflict usually arises from misunderstanding or lack of communication. It can manifest itself in many ways. Lowered morale, reduced productivity and increases in absenteeism can all be strong indicators that something needs to be addressed. The language of Belbin Team Roles can help in areas where discussions can too often include personal attacks and can often exacerbate the conflict.
Belbin and Interpersonal conflict - By comparing individuals Belbin Reports (with Observer Assessments) areas of potential conflict and misunderstanding can be highlighted, and by using the language of Belbin Team Roles, common ground can be established and a successful working relationship identified.
Belbin and Cross-team conflict - Sometimes teams become too inward focused and forget their role within the larger picture. Teams can start to compete with other teams, or start dismissing other team's suggestions and outputs. This can lead not only to cross-team conflict, but to reduced productivity within organisations.
With Employee Engagement
Helping individuals to identify their behavioural strengths in the workplace. Everyone has strengths: talents, knowledge and skills which can be used to advantage at work. In fact, research shows that people who use their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. Using Belbin as part of an employee engagement programme can:
- Help individuals discover their strengths
- Ensure that job roles and strengths are aligned
- Recognise and use others’ strengths to best advantage
- Help teams to understand and consider strengths when assigning team projects
- Incorporate strengths into performance reviews and goals
- Foster a culture which promotes strengths
For Leadership Development
"Leaders who can be trusted are self-aware and know what differentiates them from their colleagues. They are not afraid to reveal their weaknesses and know how to adapt their style to different situations" Rob Goffee, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at London Business School.
- Belbin Team Roles help to identify strengths and weaknesses, so helping individuals make the most positive impact by adapting to the current working environment/working relationship
In Change Management
Rarely can change management programmes commence by wiping the slate clean.
- Belbin Team Roles helps teams to adapt to changing goals by highlighting collective strengths and minimising weaknesses. This enables the team to be more cohesive yet adaptable in a changing environment
In a nutshell, using Belbin will give you (not an exhaustive list!):
- Balanced teams based on behavioural contributions, not job titles
- Self-aware individuals who can adapt their behaviours according to the situation and business need
- The right people doing the right tasks, leading to better-performing teams
- Depersonalised team conversations, using a common language to discuss team contributions
- Informed decision-making based on fact rather than a gut-feel or hunch
- Confidence when making decisions involving people
- Insight into behavioural strengths and weaknesses that don't necessarily show up on a CV
The first step to finding out strengths and weaknesses is by asking individuals to complete the Belbin questionnaire, called the Self-Perception Inventory, and where possible, to ask them to get feedback from their colleagues.
Once these Belbin Individual Reports have been generated, conversations can begin...
Contact us to see how you can use Belbin Team Roles within your organisation; or if you are an independent consultant, as part of your toolbox.
Phone +44 (0) 1223 264975 email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the form at the bottom of this page. We look forward to hearing from you.