Done Belbin? Your work is just beginning.
A frequent question that crops up is: Should Belbin be done more than once? The answer: Absolutely.
Belbin measures behaviour, not personality
Whilst personality is relatively fixed, behaviour can and does change, adapt and develop depending on our job role, the team around us and the culture in which we’re working.
We can actively make changes as well of course – to grow into a particular role or fulfil career aspirations (if we can authentically develop that behaviour). Whilst it’s very unusual for our most preferred roles to become least preferred and vice versa, it is possible to cultivate manageable roles until the behaviour comes more naturally.
So what does this mean for you and your Report?
Your Belbin Individual Report is a snapshot, a moment in time of your behaviours at work at a particular time. By revisiting Belbin, you can track the changes that may have occurred and evaluate how best to proceed.
Perhaps you have been working on developing some of your strengths since your last Report.
Are your efforts reflected in the team’s Observer Assessments (their feedback on your behaviours)?
If so, how will you maintain these changes in behaviour?
If not, which strategies could you use to work on developing and articulating your strengths more clearly so that others perceive them too?
Belbin balances individual needs with those of the team.
With some personality (or psychometric) tests may encourage individuals in the team to look inward, Belbin aims to focus team members on how they can help meet common objectives, by aligning individual strengths with the team’s needs. Working to our strengths (and being aware of others’ strengths within the team) boosts engagement, encourages behavioural and cognitive diversity and mutual respect. It can also assist in building psychological safety.
Teams are organic – even in long-standing teams, there are shifts in how work is allocated and how people like to work.
Revisiting Belbin is an opportunity to take personal responsibility for your contributions and their impact on the team and its objectives.
Do your strengths align with the team’s needs?
Are there conflicts from too many people attempting to play the same role?
How could these be resolved to provide the best outcome for the team, but also bearing in mind each team member’s engagement and personal development.
If contributions are missing, are there manageable roles you can cultivate to fill in the gaps?
What are the practical steps you could take to seek out the kinds of work that will hone these new skills?
From discovery to action
Your Belbin Report provides the starting-point for a discussion, ideally with others in your team, as well as your manager. Since Team Roles are clusters of real-world behaviours rather than abstract concepts, all the advice and guidance in the Report is designed to help you shape the way you work, allowing you to get the most from your job and team, and vice versa.
Using your Belbin Report to track changes over time
If you’re comparing old and new Belbin Reports, here are a number of useful exercises.
Look at the ‘Comparing Self and Observer Perceptions’ pages (old and new) side by side.
· Are they any substantial changes, either in your own views or those of your Observers?
· Do these reflect changes you’ve been working on?
· Can you think of examples of the new behaviours your colleagues might have seen?
On the ‘Maximizing your Potential’ page, take a look at the ‘Understanding your Contribution’ section. This is based solely on your Self-Perception, and provides advice on cultivating the strengths you see, even if others don’t, yet.
· Were you able to action the recommendations from the older Report?
· Can you think of examples?
· Have the recommendations changed for your new Report?
· Do you agree with the suggestions?
If so, can you think of opportunities to action them? For example: I want to show my team more of my Specialist role, so I’ll volunteer to give a presentation on the applications of my research at the next meeting.
Look at the ‘List of Observer Responses’ – these are the characteristics that others in your team see. Pay close attention to the top ten words.
· Are there changes?
· If so, can you think of reasons why?
· If not, are there things you would wish to change?
Again, the key is to come up with practical strategies to bring certain behaviours to the fore. Remember, it’s normal to have words corresponding to allowable weaknesses and to have a zero score for lots of words.
Are you curious about how your Team Roles may have changed and the efficacy of your personal development strategies? Perhaps it’s time to revisit Belbin with a new Report.
We’ll be delighted to assist.