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Why should we use 'Observers' in Belbin?

What we do, not who we are

Psychometric tests measure personality (who we are); Belbin measures behaviour (what we do). Observer Assessments are integral to the Belbin process, because they can provide behavioural evidence to corroborate – or contrast with – the individual’s Self-Perception.

Without the addition of Observers, the Belbin profile may not truly reflect the individual’s behaviour in relation to other people – it may be distorted by mood, limited self-awareness, aspirations or even a desire to influence the results. Whilst the individual may agree wholeheartedly with the self-reported outcome, this may not help to develop his or her performance in relation to other people.

Observer Assessments provide greater accuracy and validity – a behavioural “reality check”. They offer a real learning opportunity, can help to identify discrepancies or conflicts and can provide a useful discussion starter for personal development.

Who is an ideal Observer?

Someone you work with on a regular basis – NOT a family member or a friend. Someone who will be honest with their feedback – i.e. someone who will feed back the positives and negatives (we all have them!). You need to have worked with someone for at least 3 months. After all, it takes a while to find the real you!

As we don’t want the output, the Belbin Reports, to show bias, we ask that people get feedback from a minimum of 4 Observers. An ideal number is 6.

What is involved?

Once an individual has completed the Self-Perception Inventory (SPI), a Belbin Report is generated. They then nominate up to 6 Observers and send them an email. This email contains a link to the Observer Assessment (OA) which is a list of words which link to each of the Team Roles. As each Belbin Team Role has strengths and corresponding weaknesses, the list is split in to two sections - List A and List B.

The Observers tick the words that they feel apply. They should be able to tick words from both List A and List B.

Once all the Observers have completed their OA, a new Belbin Report can be generated. This one is more in-depth as it takes all of the Observer responses into account.

How much do the Observer Assessments cost?

Nothing. They are included within the price of the Belbin Individual Report.

Why do Observers matter?

Because they add so much value to the report. Belbin isn't really Belbin without them.


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