When putting a team together we usually pick the people with the functional skills (Finance, Production, Marketing) that we need to get the job done. But is this the best way?
Dr R. Meredith Belbin, a graduate of Clare College, Cambridge, studied the performance of teams, and concluded that a team functioned well not due to the professional skills of the team members but rather through some other interaction that caused the team to gel.
Common sense may indicate that the best teams are made up of like minded people. Belbin reversed that conventional wisdom to say that the best teams contain the most diversity.
When further investigating teams and the roles that were being filled by their members he concluded that there where 8 Team Types critical to the functioning of a well balanced team.
Further research showed that when a team was made up of members that between them did not demonstrate the full compliment of 8 Team Types, then poor performance consistently occurred.
Due to the diversity in the makeup of productive teams, conflict can be common as the different styles clash. However the team members understand that this conflict is due to their diversity, and that they all have different roles to play and the conflict can be resolved constructively
How you can use Team Types
It is not uncommon that personal styles can stall a relationship. If however, you can understand and predict the different personal styles, you can significantly increase not only your effectiveness, but the teams as well.
The most frequently used Personality profiling tool in New Zealand the OPQ, from SHL, can produce Team Types as a subsidiary profile. As mentioned in our last newsletter, where we have assessed several members of a team and produced Team Types, we will now produce a Free Team Map, to show you the roles that each individual is likely to take on, the likely areas of conflict between team members, and to identify any gaps that may exist.
Other profiling tools such as the OPP from OPRA Consulting and the Self Perception Inventory can produce Team Types.
What if you haven't profiled the whole team?
We can profile those members of the team that have not been previously assessed, and what's more this can be done in their own time, in the office keeping disruption to a minimum (providing they have access to a PC).
Follow that with a short Team Development workshop for the whole team, which will review the Team Types model and review the types of the attendees.
They will learn how to work with other types and how to better understand their fellow team members.