We are all wonderfully unique individuals. There is something special about each and every one of us that makes you, well, YOU! This is incredibly relevant in all aspects of our lives including when we are at work. How we think, approach problems and even interact with our colleagues can be influenced by our personalities. But with everyone being so different, how do you effectively lead or manage your team? There are many different personality profile tools out there to help managers do exactly that. From simple profile tools such as DOPE (check out our free DOPE test) to more complex and in-depth profiles such as Belbin, each is designed to give you an insight into how to best manage each personality. Today we will take a closer look at how to manage personalities based on each of the Belbin profiles, to equip you with the skills to effectively manage your team for success.
WHAT IS BELBIN?
Before we dive into it, let’s take a really quick look at what Belbin Team Roles is and where it came from. Dr Meredith Belbin developed the Belbin Team Role theory during an intense study of teams at Henley Business School in the UK in the late 60s and early 70s. His research found that it was not intellect, but balance, which enabled a team to succeed. The most successful companies tend to be those with a mix of people with a range of behaviours and attributes.
From this Belbin Team Roles theory was born, identifying nine distinct clusters of behaviour in people within teams. Finding an effective balance of these behaviours for a successful team has seen Belbin Team Roles used in organisations ever since.
So, what do these profiles look like and how do you effectively lead each one? Well stick with us, because you are about to find out!
The person who acts as a prime source of innovation and ideas for the team.
- They are very innovative – creative and inventive individuals, Plants are the ones in the team most likely to come up with new ideas and suggestions.
- They think outside the box – as lateral thinkers, Plants like to tackle complex problems in new and interesting ways.
- They keep the team going – although not always appreciated in structured environments, Plants offer the germ of an idea which can lead to success, and without this, teams can stagnate.
- Don’t forget to collaborate – Plants are bound to want to take ownership of their ideas, but can sometimes forget that a project may see better results when they collaborate with others.
How to Manage
- DO: Give them time and space to be creative. Listen to their ideas and encourage them to explain them.
- DON’T: Impose too many restrictions, or be overly critical before they’ve had the chance to explore an idea fully.
The person who explores external resources and develops contacts on behalf of the team.
- They are natural communicators – they are able to establish a rapport quickly, to extend the range of the team’s useful contacts and partnerships.
- They often discover new opportunities for the business – outgoing and inquisitive, Resource Investigators are likely to be found at conferences and exhibitions, exploring new ideas and opportunities. In this way they can ensure that the team capitalizes on new developments and keeps a handle on their competitors.
- They are expert negotiators – they are good at thinking on their feet and, because of their boundless enthusiasm, they enjoy convincing others of the benefits of a potential idea or possibility.
- They can get a little excited – whilst Resource Investigators are enthusiastic to move on to the next exciting possibility, this shouldn’t be at the expense of their existing clients. It’s not acceptable for them to let customers down by failing to follow up – or make arrangements for someone else in the team to do so.
How to Manage
- DO: Allow them to enthuse and discuss with others when a new possibility has caught their attention.
- DON’T: Ask for too much detail about a new venture, or expect them to carry out in‐depth research.
The person who combines the team’s efforts, promotes consensus and manages talent.
- They keep the ball rolling – in a team with diverse skills and behaviours, Coordinators are able to identify and use the talents of each individual to ensure success through delegating work accordingly and encouraging each person to give 100%.
- They ensure everyone stayes on track – co‐ordinators are brilliant at facilitating meetings, ensuring that all important contributions are drawn out, and that consensus is achieved to allow the team to move forward.
- They are excellent mediators – with the perfect blend of tact, insight and control, Co‐ordinators can play a political role, smoothing over disagreements in such a way that the team will benefit.
- They can get distracted from the task at hand – whilst delegating work appropriately is an important part of the role, Co‐ordinators can sometimes forget to do their part and can be guilty of taking sole credit for the team’s efforts.
How to Manage
- DO: Give them the opportunity to bring out the best in others. Approach them to ensure that your ideas and views are taken forward.
- DON’T: Undermine them with hidden agendas or by pursuing personal conflicts and vendettas.
The person who challenges and drives the team forward to achieve its goals and objectives.
- They are high achievers – Shapers are dynamic and highly motivated individuals with a lot of nervous energy and a great need for achievement. They’re primarily interested in getting things done as quickly as possible.
- They like to win – headstrong and assertive, Shapers enjoy competition and challenges, and they’re determined to overcome obstacles and win. They’re likely to come across as self‐confident, even if they have doubts that they don’t allow others to see.
- They like to take action – they can be impatient to get things done and they don’t mind making unpopular decisions to make things happen. They thrive under pressure and are well suited to managing change.
- They can sometimes create conflict – while shaking things up can help rejuvenate an apathetic team, it can also result in arguments. Where conflict arises, Shapers shouldn’t hold grudges, but should be encouraged to recover the situation with good humour or an apology.
How to Manage
- DO: Use a factual and goal‐oriented approach. Talk in terms of what can be achieved and when the deadline might be.
- DON’T: Let arguments get personal, or let discussions get off topic. Avoid ambiguity wherever possible.
The person who analyses ideas and suggestions, and evaluates their feasibility.
- They take an analytical approach – Monitor Evaluators are serious minded, prudent individuals who are excellent at analysing problems and evaluating ideas and suggestions to determine their viability, and help develop them further.
- They are critical thinkers – fair‐minded and proficient, they are adept at weighing up the pros and cons of a situation and reaching decisions using logic, rather than being swayed by enthusiasm or personal and emotional considerations.
- They are arbiters of decision making – Monitor Evaluators enjoy debate and are likely to pride themselves on taking their time to get the big decisions right.
- They can be critical of new ideas – Monitor Evaluators may be skeptical about new ideas, responding with cynicism, which can be frustrating to other team members.
How to Manage
- DO: Invite them to assess an idea thoroughly, express their concerns and resist hasty decision‐making.
- DON’T: Attempt to influence them with optimism or emotional appeals. Avoid pressuring them to make a quick judgement.
The person who supports others, and promotes harmony and unity within the team.
- They are incredibly supportive – Teamworkers help to maintain a positive team atmosphere. They’re sensitive to emotional undertones that can affect the way the team is working together, and can be instrumental in resolving difficulties.
- They are excellent at defusing conflict – Teamworkers are adept at responding to people and situations with diplomacy and sensitivity. They keep things running smoothly and help all team members to contribute effectively.
- They are adept to others emotions – not only are they excellent listeners and proficient at internal communication, they are sympathetic and personable individuals, making them popular amongst their colleagues.
- They sometimes need to let conflict happen – whilst Teamworkers seek to minimise conflict, they should not avoid all situations which entail necessary pressure or useful debate.
How to Manage
- DO: Harness their supportive qualities for the team’s benefit; ensure that feelings are not overlooked.
- DON’T: Take them for granted, assume that they will agree to everything or force them to make big decisions alone.
The person who translates concepts and plans into a working brief, and carries it out.
- They get it done – hard‐working and practical, Implementers turn ideas into working plans. They focus on what is feasible, and then get on with the task at hand. No stranger to a spreadsheet or Gantt chart, they tend to tackle work in a systematic, methodical fashion that ensures maximum efficiency.
- They are incredibly reliable – with an inclination and capacity to do whatever work needs to be done to complete a task, Implementers are likely to develop a reputation for being efficient and meticulous.
- They are valued for their loyalty – typically, Implementers are recognized for their loyalty to the organization in which they work.
- They can be resistant to change – because of their drive for efficiency and stability they can be resistant to change if they believe it will deter from completing tasks on time.
How to Manage
- DO: Give them responsibility for organizing things, and delegate in a way that leaves no room for ambiguity.
- DON’T: Use them as a sounding board for new or vague ideas, or delegate in broad, conceptual terms.
The person who corrects mistakes and ensures that important details are not overlooked.
- They always deliver tasks to a high standard – with an eye for detail and a drive to reach the highest possible standards, Completer Finishers are adept at areas of work which requires careful follow through, close concentration and a high degree of accuracy, such as proofreading or checking figures.
- They act as a “quality control” – excellent at catching mistakes which might otherwise spoil the end product or outcome, Completer Finishers are vital for work which falls between the responsibilities of two people or teams.
- The have excellent accountability – given their own high standards, they hold themselves accountable and are unlikely to hand work over to others, for fear that someone else may not bring the same care and attention to the task.
- They can become obsessive – whilst Completer Finishers may be admired for their perseverance in getting every little detail right, this tendency shouldn’t be allowed to spill over into obsessive behaviour.
How to Manage
- DO: Clarify priorities to help them manage workload. Allow them adequate time to complete work thoroughly and carefully.
- DON’T: Overload them with work or set unrealistic deadlines. Don’t make light of their anxiety about getting things right.
The person who provides in‐depth knowledge on a particular subject.
- They know their stuff – dedicated to a specific interest or field, Specialists pride themselves on acquiring skills and knowledge in their particular subject area, and this rare skill is often essential to the successful operation of the team.
- They love to learn – Specialists love learning and their attention is focused on honing their knowledge and understanding, ensuring they are up‐to‐date with the latest developments in their field and maintaining high professional standards.
- They place high value on professional development – Specialists are likely to be keen to attend training in their subject area, not just because of a sense of obligation, but out of love for their subject. For some Specialists, work is just like a hobby, because they derive such enjoyment from what they do.
- They can get a little tunnel vision – as Specialists are highly focused on a particular topic or task, they can tend to ignore or downplay the importance of other factors outside their own area of expertise.
How to Manage
- DO: Demonstrate that you value their contribution as a source of information. Involve them when undertaking research or study.
- DON’T: Neglect or underestimate their area of expertise. Don’t allow them to become too isolated from the team.
While each team member will showcase traits that fit into multiple profiles, the important thing to remember when managing different personalities within a team is, that each individual brings an extraordinary set of skills. By encouraging and giving each team member space to shine and explore their unique roles within their team, you will create an environment for your organisation to thrive.