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Making Better Matches: Team Role Theory and Team Dynamics - A Belbin Primer

Making Better Matches: Team Role Theory and Team Dynamics - A Belbin Primer

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  • Anybody who remembers the era of the mimeograph, or a little later the IBM-ball electric typewriter, will appreciate how simple life was for a technical communicator back in those days. You tested for typing speed and accuracy and you hired your team. With the information revolution came new ways of working, new tools to master, new rules to learn and new ways to communicate with your company’s audience. Writing for the Web, writing online help, and now, writing for the PDA screen – all pose new and different challenges. There is more and more work being done in multi-disciplinary teams, communicators working with developers and web-designers and usability experts and subject matter experts … Now building a team is a whole new ballgame. Putting people together, without any understanding about how they will interact and what their strengths are, is inviting almost certain disaster.

Belbin Team Role Primer Belbin Team Role Primer Presentation Transcript

  • Making Better Matches A Belbin Primer: Team Role Theory and Team Dynamics Tuesday, March 30, 2010 Richmond OD Round Table
  • Overview
    • What is a team role?
    • What makes a team?
    • Building a balanced team
      • Preferred roles
      • Team role “sacrifice”
    • The 9 Team roles
    • Eligible vs. Suitable
      • Job success factors
      • Identifying “missing” team roles
    • Mapping Team Dynamics
    • e-Interplace – sample reports
  • What is a Team Role?
    • "A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.“
    • Team Role theory is based on 9 years of research at Henley Management College (UK)
  • What makes a team? Teams Groups Size Limited Medium or Large Selection Crucial Immaterial Leadership Shared or Rotating Solo Perception Mutual or shared understanding Focus on leader Style Role Spread Coordination Convergence Conformism Spirit Dynamic interaction: “We” Togetherness and Persecution of opponents: “ Us and them”
  • The changing face of teamwork
    • Once it was: Many hands make light work
      • Work was straightforward and clear
      • Specialized t asks executed by specialized staff
      • Tools were few and unsophisticated
    • Now: It takes a diverse range of behaviours and skills …. to make it work
      • No single individual can “wear all hats”
      • Work is complex and multifaceted
      • Multi-talents required; project approach
      • Vast array of skills required and behaviours to master
  • Teams examined …
    • Some people are better at certain tasks than others — why?
    • Some teams are productive, and get things done; others less so — why?
    • Some teams are creative and innovative; what makes them so?
  • ALL roles are useful …
    • … some are more useful at different phases in a project
    • … some roles can be “solo”
    • … some roles require team effort
      • We couldn’t have done it without you …”
      • Without your contribution, the project would have failed”
    • Let’s look more closely at teams and roles …
  • Building a Balanced Team
    • Ideally, a productive and effective team will have a mix of
      • Thinkers, planners, creative problem-solvers
      • Doers, action-oriented contributors
      • Social, interaction-oriented contributors
  • Building a Balanced Team Action-oriented Cerebral Social
  • Preferred and manageable roles
    • Team roles are “Clusters of behavioural preference”
    • Top 2 – 4 are Preferred or Dominant roles = most natural and comfortable (score 65-100%)
    • Preferred secondary (and tertiary) role = fall back when dominant role is already taken (team role sacrifice)
    • Manageable role = competent and doable
    • Least preferred (score <25%) = avoid
  • Team Role Sacrifice
    • When two or more individuals share a dominant or preferred team role, the others will settle into a secondary preferred (or less dominant) role.
    • This team role sacrifice must be a conscious choice, based on an understanding of team dynamics
    • If the choice is forced , or not accepted , it may become a source of resentment and tension
  • The 9 Team Roles Plant Coordinator Monitor Evaluator Implementer Specialist Resource Investigator Shaper Teamworker Completer Finisher
  • The 9 Team Roles: Shaper
    • Shaper
      • Charismatic, forceful, personal stake in success, and the drive to make it happen, often a bit manipulative — entrepreneurial manager
      • Ideal “change” and “innovation” manager
    • Strengths:
      • Challenges status quo, dynamic, thrives under pressure. Drive and courage to overcome obstacles
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Takes failure personally, provocative, prone to offending people’s feelings
  • The 9 Team Roles: Coordinator
    • Coordinator
      • Consensus-builder, politically astute operator, process and procedure-oriented
      • Excellent “maintenance” managers, but ineffective, sometimes counterproductive “innovation” managers
    • Strengths:
      • Mature, confident, clarifies goals, facilitates decision-making, delegates well
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Manipulative, offloads personal work
  • The 9 Team Roles: Monitor/Evaluator
    • Monitor-Evaluator
      • Develops and evaluates scenarios, builds contingency plans, thinks of everything (that can go wrong) — ideal project manager
    • Strengths:
      • Sober, strategic, discerning. Sees all options; has good judgement
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Lacks drive and the ability to inspire others
  • The 9 Team Roles: Plant
    • Plant
      • Autonomously creative, visionary, architect, an idea generator; thinker rather than do-er
    • Strengths:
      • Creative, imaginative, unorthodox; tackles and solves complex problems
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Distracted, often poor follow-through, too preoccupied to communicate effectively, impatient with execution
  • The 9 Team Roles: Resource Investigator
    • Resource-Investigator
      • Relationship-builder, extroverted, creatively mixes and matches people and information, big-picture thinker, pragmatic, opportunistic
    • Strengths:
      • Extrovert, infectious enthusiasm, great communicator, explores and exploits opportunities
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Overly optimistic; dismisses legitimate concerns, loses interest once initial excitement has passed
  • The 9 Team Roles: Team Worker
    • Team Worker
      • The motivator, the mediator, a people-oriented worker, social coordinator and guardian of the team-spirit
    • Strengths:
      • Cooperative, collaborative, always ready to help out, perceptive, high EQ, diplomatic
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Indecisive in critical situations, gets too emotional
  • The 9 Team Roles: Completer/Finisher
    • Completer-Finisher
      • Worriers, perfectionists, detail-oriented nitpickers
      • But: they cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s
    • Strengths:
      • Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Seeks out and identifies errors and flaws, delivers on time
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Inclined to worry unduly, reluctant (sometimes incapable) to delegate
  • The 9 Team Roles: Implementer
    • Implementer
      • Solid performer, unassuming, loyal, plugs away tirelessly and gets the job done, do-er rather than thinker
    • Strengths:
      • Disciplined, reliable, conservative, efficient. Turns ideas into practical actions
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Inflexible, resistant to sudden change, suspicious of new ideas/approaches
  • The 9 Team Roles: Specialist
    • Specialists
      • Lone gunmen – but straight shooters
      • Have all the detailed knowledge nobody else retains – and will deliver the correct information on request
      • Have no interest in actual team work
    • Strengths:
      • Single-minded, self-starter, dedicated. Contributes scarce and detailed knowledge and skills when asked
    • Allowable weaknesses:
      • Contributes only on a narrow basis; slow to volunteer information, tends to dwell on technicalities and tools
  • Sample Team role reports
    • Self-perception Inventory (SPI)
    • Assessment results in rank order (complete with Observer reports)
    • Counselling report
  • Self-Perception Inventory (SPI) Preferred Manageable Avoid!
  • Assessment results in rank order Preferred Manageable Avoid!
  • Counselling report “ On a final note, you need to take account of the role for which you are least suited. You do not appear to fit comfortably into a subordinate role. You may therefore need to give special attention to becoming low profile and supportive when the occasion calls for it.” “ Your profile suggests you have a strong sense of direction and ideas of your own. You like producing ideas … you are likely to be more than ready to direct others, possibly at the risk of appearing authoritarian in the desire to get things done. You may have to discipline yourself to ensure that you give adequate scope to your colleagues …”
  • Eligible vs. Suitable
    • Can s/he do the job? vs.
    • Will s/he be an effective team member?
      • Fit, personality, behavioural preference 
      • Does s/he have the right Team Role Profile?
    Eligibility vs Suitability Entry criteria Performance criteria
    • Qualifications
    • Aptitude
    • Relevant experience
    • Versatility
    • References
    • Assessment(s)
    • Acceptability at interview
    • Role fit with those adjacent to the job
  • Job Success Factors
    • Beyond “eligible”, research shows that
      • Attitudes and values
      • Interpersonal behaviours
      • Organizational sensitivity
      • Adaptability to change
      • Emotional maturity, and
      • An open mind
    • Are the true success factors for job performance
  • Why is Team Dynamics important?
    • How people interact with others is situational
    • Conflict is often a result of competing team roles
    • Team role sacrifice is a consequence of team role awareness
    • Understanding team roles promotes smooth interaction and collaboration
  • Mapping Team Dynamics
    • Offers insight to members about who should be doing what
    • Clarifies value-add for individual team members
    • Avoids duplication of effort (or dropped responsibilities)
    • Identifies crucial team role gaps – to be filled
  • Sample Team Dynamics reports
    • Overview of team role profiles (team of 5)
    • Identifying “missing” team roles
    • Working relationships
      • Dominant roles ME – SP
      • Dominant roles ME – TW
    • Team Dynamic: preferred role distribution
  • Overview of team role profiles (5)
  • Missing team roles
  • Working relationship ME -- SP
  • Working relationship ME -- TW
  • Team Dynamic: preferred roles
  • Contact
    • email: [email_address]
    • voice: 604-317-2234