member login contact link

There’s a new and worrying trend in our industry – the denigration of “management” in favour of “leadership”.

Comparisons of the two like to contrast – for simplicity – a controlling, top-down, authoritarian management style with a humble, authentic, self-aware leader who inspires others.

But hold on, we need good managers. They’re the ones who navigate the team from point to point, delegating the work and dealing with issues that arise along the way. Visionaries are all well and good, but without people to assign work (and deal with the needs, relationships and performance of the people who will be doing that work) the team is likely to drift aimlessly or, worse still, pull in opposite directions.

And good managers have some of those so-called ‘leadership’ qualities anyway. If we want to promote changes in management style – from authoritarian to consultative, for example – disparaging managers in favour of leaders won’t help. It doesn’t alter a manager’s principal job and is nothing more than a needless brand change which conceals the underlying problem.

We can’t abdicate responsibility for the messy, difficult part of business – human nature – and that is exactly what this trend is attempting to do.

Fact check

Gallup finds that only 1 in 10 people possess the talent to manage others, and that the manager’s talent is the greatest predictor of performance across different industries and types of role.  They also claim that 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is attributable to managers and how effectively they guide their teams.

Instead, let’s give managers the tools to manage effectively. How about a language to help them understand what individuals in their team have to offer, how they can best play to their strengths and where they’re likely to need help?

So, the research shows it is managers who transform teams. A good manager engages their people by enabling each person to play to their strengths and delegating work in a way that best benefits the team and organisation as a whole.

Belbin has been helping managers for decades and 87% of our customers say that using Belbin helps managers manage their teams more effectively.

Our advice to managers is simple:

  • Understand the Belbin Team Roles (unique behavioural contributions) of those in your team, so you know who is suited to which kinds of work and who to involve at each stage of a project.
  • Use the language of Team Roles to help promote healthy working relationships, address performance issues, and depersonalise and resolve conflicts in the team.
  • Don’t forget your own learning – encourage your team to provide feedback as part of the Belbin exercise, so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses in their eyes. Use this knowledge to help formulate your own personal development strategy.

It may not be a fashionable thing to say right now, but managers, we’re with you all the way.


Next Steps

  • Introduce your managers to the language of Belbin - encourage them to complete the Belbin SPI, get feedback from those they manage, and spend time going through the generated Belbin Report. Are there differences in the feedback? Open a dialogue.
  • Talk to us about running a session for your managers and their teams – start the team conversation.
  • Want to know more about how Belbin can help? Call us on 01223 264975.



Gallup: “The Matrix: Teams Are Gaining Greater Power in Companies”, May 2016

Gallup: "Only One in 10 People Possess the Talent to Manage, April 2015

Discover individual and team strengths using Belbin Team Role reports

Belbin Individual Reports

Before you can analyse your teams, you need to look at each individual's contribution. So, the first thing you will need to do is to generate a Belbin Individual report for each member of the team.

Find out more

Belbin Team Reports

Whether you're forming a new team, introducing new people to an existing team, or trying to resolve issues within a team, a Belbin Team report can help you to manage it.

Discover more

Why Use Belbin?

Belbin Team Roles are used to identify behavioural strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. Whether developing people, resolving conflict or fine-tuning high performance...

Read more

Belbin Training and Workshops

Practical Belbin Workshop

A 'train the trainer' hands-on workshop to help you understand how to use Belbin Team Roles - to help you, your managers, teams and organisation!

Find out more

Team Workshops

If you are experiencing problems with particular people or teams, then a Belbin workshop could be the answer.

Discover more

Belbin Accreditation

Belbin Team Role Accreditation is recommended for anyone who wants to use Belbin Team Roles to improve the performance of teams, and maximise working relationships.