Hello reader,

The words teams and team-working have been so over used that for many of us it has been reduced to images of people having huddles and group hugs!  But the basic idea behind a team is to produce something that would not be as easily, efficiently or possible to produce if you were working on your own.  A team works together because the contribution that the individuals make adds up to something that is greater than if those individuals had worked alone.

"Simply putting a number of people together and expecting them to work as a team is not enough" - Meredith Belbin

Have you ever been frustrated because no matter what you do you cannot progress Person A’s working relationship with Person B and yet observing Person A and Person C they have a working connection that ticks all the boxes. Wishing you could bottle that bit of magic that Person A and Person C have which would enable your whole team’ collaboration regardless of their individual differences, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses is no longer a desire but can be a reality!

Each of us has a preferred team style – the way we work and the way we work with others.  Whether it be a Plant; Resource Investigator; Co-ordinator; Shaper; Monitor Evaluator; Teamworkker; Implementer; Completer Finisher or Specialist our style preference does not have to rule the way we work.  However, by knowing our preferred style we can become more aware of how we approach tasks, objectives and team relationships, enabling us to minimise our weaknesses and enhance our strengths! 

By assessing the behavioural contribution individuals make to your teams through self-perception questionnaire and feedback, Belbin looks at how people behave in the workplace and which roles they are best suited to take on in a team environment. Understanding our Allowable Weakness within our preferred style  is encouraging and reassuring.

Below is a table outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the nine team styles and a brief guide of how the styles interact with each other.  This is not a prescriptive guide but can help us to understand how we impact on others and how we appear to others in our teams.  Remember, as we grow and develop within our career, our style changes – the ultimate aim is to achieve a style of working that has no particular preference but can respond effectively to the circumstances we find ourselves working in – this is known as situational team styles.

"Teams are a question of balance. What is needed is well balanced individuals who balance well with one another" - Meredith Belbin