1. Absence of trust
Lencioni claimed that teams who were unable to be 'vulnerable' with one another encountered problems. These teams were unwilling to admit mistakes, acknowledge weaknesses or ask for help.
In order to be open with one another in this way, individuals need psychological safety: to know that they can share the negatives of their experiences without fear of recriminations.
In 2016,Google’s Project Aristotle – their research into effective teams – named ‘psychological safety’ as the single most important ingredient for team success.
But opening up can be the most difficult part.
Identifying and communicating our Belbin Team Roles – the behaviours we tend to adopt in a team – encourages individuals to share preferences and discuss past mistakes and shortcomings within a protective and positive framework.
The first step is for team members to receive their Belbin Individual Reports.
These describe each person’s unique combination of Team Roles (using responses from the individual and the rest of the team) and offer guidance and advice on how to play to your strengths.
Unlike many theories, for Belbin, weaknesses aren’t a subject to be avoided.
We talk about ‘allowable weaknesses’ of a particular Team Role as simply flipsides of a Team Role strength. In other words, they’re a trade-off for playing a particular role to good effect – shortcomings which, when known, can be mitigated by others in the team.
The data from Individual Reports can be aggregated to produce Belbin Team Reports.
These analyse the team as a whole, showing where each team member fits and how approaches to work might differ.
The clarity of contributions Belbin offers can aid team development and help members understand why co-workers might respond to failure in a certain way.
Lencioni gives the example of someone admitting, “Your idea was better than mine”.
- For a Plant, who makes a significant investment of time and energy into a new idea, this can be a difficult statement to make.
- It can take a lot for a proud Shaper to apologise.
- An anxious Completer Finisher who has let a mistake slip through the net is likely to be punishing themselves rather than sharing the failure with the team.