“What is needed is not well balanced individuals; but individuals who balance well with each other.” – Dr Merideth Belbin
Dr David Marriott, internationally renowned corporate psychologist and expert in team and management development, shares some thoughts on the famous Belbin Model and it’s relevance for teams into the next century.
In my experience there are few organisations in any field of work where the major decisions are made by one person. Rather the running of any successful operation necessitates the collaboration of a team of people from different backgrounds and with unique personality and thinking styles, who interact as peers, pooling their ideas, judgement and plans.
The success of their endeavours hinges on the behaviour, talents, balance and cohesion of this management team. The work of Dr Meredith Belbin is a significant contribution to our understanding of how human organisations work, and how to make them work better. Over a seven year period a team of psychologists, under his direction, assessed individual managers from all over the world. Their different personality traits, intellectual abilities and behaviour during a variety of management assignments were carefully evaluated.
Results of this research showed that there are a finite number of Management Styles or Team Roles, and that these Team Roles comprise certain patterns of related behaviour which can be adopted naturally by the various personality types found in organisations. The accurate delineation of these Team Roles is critical to the study of management team effectiveness.
There are two important elements in Belbin’s analysis. The first is the recognition that human strengths usually bring countervailing weaknesses. The second is that some combinations of these roles have a greater probability of team success than others. Some achieve complimentary productivity where others are likely to result in intra group competition.
Many of us have seen that “Nobody’s Perfect – But A Team Can Be” and we have seen a team produce a quality and quantity of work far higher than the sum of what the separate members could have produced on their own. It follows that in organisations where priority is given to the selection, training and development of teams, to their psychology, motivation and composition, these organisations will out – perform those in which teams are composed merely according to the functional roles that are needed.
The people in an organisation are its most important resource. Reliable, wide ranging information about their behaviour will be the key to successful enterprise leadership in the 21st century.
Using the Belbin model with it’s nine different patterns of behaviour provides an excellent means of assessing and predicting both individual and team performance, building perfect teams and a means of matching people to people and people to jobs.
Click on the link if you need to contact a company in the UK that facilitates work with the Belbin Team Roles. (external link)