Knowing the 9 different Team Roles is one thing, but to understand which roles you prefer to play, can manage to play for a while, or need to delegate, you need to complete a Belbin® Self-Perception Inventory. This is completed on-line, and the report that you receive is fully normed, contains advice, and can be used to help you become more effective at work!
On completion of the Self-Perception Inventory (SPI), a 6-page report is produced, based on an individual’s perception of their behavioural strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.
This report is based on how an individual sees their behaviour within the workplace. However, the characteristics identified may not be the behaviour that others pinpoint or value. If you want to use the Belbin reports to maximise an individuals input in the workplace, and to help them to build successful working relationships with their colleagues and managers, it is invaluable to get additional feedback.
We call this feedback Observer Assessment and it is something we believe is essential when looking to improve an individuals contribution in the workplace.
Observer Assessments are Belbin’s method for obtaining 360-degree feedback. This process entails approaching managers, colleagues and those who are managed by the individual (where applicable) and asking them to complete a short assessment. The Observer Assessment takes 5-10 minutes to complete and consists of two ticklists of adjectives. The observers tick the adjectives if they feel that they strongly apply to the individual.
A minimum of 4 Observers assessments are required to produce the full report. We recommend 6.
It may not be appropriate to ask for Observer Assessments straight away – perhaps an individual is new to the team, or you may want them to get used to the Belbin language via their Self-Perception report first.
The option to add the Observers Assessment remains active for 2 years, so it is up to you when they are utilised.
Team Roles focus on behaviours. If our interest were confined to personality, it could be argued that no one else could know or understand us better than we know ourselves.
With behaviour, however, it’s a different story. Whilst an individual might think they are sending out a certain message, other people might read their actions and words very differently, and in that case, it’s important to know. Whilst a Self-Perception report can tell what an individual thinks of themselves, and what their aspirations might be, simply relying on their own perception of their behaviour is unlikely to improve self-awareness (and won’t prove as interesting!)
What matters in the workplace is what managers, colleagues and subordinates think, since an individual is likely to be assigned tasks on that basis. For a broader view of how an individual really is, and how others see them, Observer Assessments are desirable. They can indicate others’ perceptions. They can help modify an individual’s overall Team Roles to give a more accurate picture of how they come across in the workplace – in short, how they behave at work.
Who should complete the Observer Assessments (OA)?
The OA should be completed by those who work or have worked recently with the person they are asked to assess. For a full report, a minimum of four Observers is required, but six is preferable. Ideally, a set of observers should be chosen from among colleagues, reports and managers who are familiar with the individual’s behaviour and know the individual well in a work environment. When completing profiles, candidates may choose their own observers or the allocation can be made by the facilitator or trainer. The OA is designed to inform and broaden the Self-Perception profile and should take 5-10 minutes to complete.
It was only after the initial research had been completed that the ninth Team Role, Specialist emerged. In the real world, the value of an individual with in-depth knowledge of a key area came to be recognised as yet another essential team contribution.
Teamworkers helped the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
Challenging individuals, known as Shapers, provided the necessary drive to ensure that the team kept moving and did not lose focus or momentum.
– Completer Finishers were most effectively used at the end of a task, to “polish” and scrutinise the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
When the team was at risk of becoming isolated and inwardly-focused, Resource Investigators provided inside knowledge on the opposition and made sure that the team’s idea would carry to the world outside the team.
The first Team Role to be identified was the Plant. The role was so-called because one such individual was “planted” in each team. They tended to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
One by one, the other Team Roles began to emerge. The Monitor Evaluator was needed to provide a logical eye, make impartial judgments where required and to weigh up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
Implementers were needed to plan a practical, workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.