Dr. Stephen Treacy
A Literature Review on the Team Building Activity
October 17th 2018
Mandar Sawant 118220435
Word Count: 3772
The research of Dr Meredith Belbin in the 1970’S lead to the development of Belbin Team
Roles, nine clusters of behaviour that individuals adopt when participating in a team. During
extensive experiments at Henley Management College it became clear that teams comprising
a balanced mix of Team Roles outperformed unbalanced teams.
Subsequent research has also demonstrated that teams consistently outperform individuals
when dealing with high risk- high complex issues where a wide range of complementary
behaviours are required.
Today, the Belbin Team Role model is used by over 40 percent of the top 100 companies in the
UK, the United Nations, the World Bank and thousands of organisations throughout the world
to enhance individual and team performance.
The original research involved painstaking and laborious observation using Bales analysis to
identify a person’s natural team roles. Today the process takes a few minutes by using the
Belbin Interplace computer system to process the results of the Belbin Self Perception
Inventory, Observer Assessments and Job Assessments.
The diagnostic and advisory information provided by the Interplace reports has proved to be
• Enhancing self-awareness and personal effectiveness.
• Fostering mutual trust and understanding and building productive workplace
• Ensuring managers and organisations have a better understanding of the natural
talents, motivations and behavioural tendencies of each employee.
• Matching people to the right jobs and jobs to the right people.
• Selecting and building effective teams and diagnosing the causes of
Definition of Team Role:
A Team Role is defined as “A tendency to behave, contribute and
interrelate with others in a particular way.”- Dr Meredith Belbin.
The value of Belbin Team Role theory lies in enabling an individual or team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust according to the demands being made by the external situation.
How did the concept originate?
The concept was derived from a study of successful and unsuccessful teams competing in
Business Games at Henley Management College, England. Managers taking part in the exercise were given a battery of psychometric tests and put into teams of varying composition. As time progressed different clusters of behaviour were identified as underlying the success of the teams.
These successful clusters of behaviour were then given names.
Hence the emergence of nine Team Roles:
Below is a brief summary of each of the nine Team Roles:
Plants are innovators and inventors and can be highly creative. They provide
the source of original ideas to support innovation. Their ideas may often be radical and may lack practical constraint. They are independent, and usually regarded as being clever as a result of their original and radical perspective. They don’t always manage to communicate in a compelling way and offer their ideas in a practical and relevant framework.
The main use of a PL is to challenge conventional and established ways of doing
things and provide suggested solutions for solving complex problems. PLs are often needed in the initial stages of a project or when a project is failing to progress. PLs have usually made their mark as founders of companies or as originators of new products.
RESOURCE INVESTIGATOR (RI)
Resource Investigators are usually enthusiastic extroverts. They are natural
communicators with people both inside and outside the company. They are natural
negotiators and are adept at exploring new opportunities and developing contacts. Although not a great source of original ideas, the RI is effective when it comes to picking up other people’s ideas and promoting them. RIs have a strong inquisitive sense and a readiness to see the possibilities in anything new.
RIs are good at exploring and reporting back on ideas, developments or resources
outside their immediate group. They are the natural people to set up external contacts and to carry out any subsequent negotiations.
The distinguishing feature of Co-ordinators is their propensity for helping
others to work towards shared goals. Mature, trusting and confident, they delegate readily. In interpersonal relations they are quick to spot individual talents and to use them in pursuit of group objectives. The natural goal focus of CO’s can sometimes lead to them manipulating others to achieve their personal objectives.
COs are well placed when put in charge of a team of people with diverse skills and
personal characteristics. Their motto might well be “consultation with control” and they usually believe in tackling problems calmly.
Shapers are highly goal and oriented people with great drive and energy. They
push themselves and others and tend to overcome obstacles by sheer determination. They
tend to be highly assertive and have very directive management styles. They frequently progress upward in organisations because they get results and because many people are impressed by their courageous and decisive leadership style.
SHs are generally perceived as ideal managers because they generate action and
thrive under pressure. They come into their own when quick and decisive action is called for to overcome threats and difficulties or when progress towards goals and objectives is
MONITOR EVALUATOR (ME)
Monitor Evaluators are serious-minded, prudent individuals with a built-in
immunity for being over-enthusiastic. They are likely to be slow in making decisions preferring to carefully think things over. Usually they have a high critical thinking ability. They have a good capacity for shrewd judgements that take all factors into account. They deal in facts and logic rather than emotion when considering options.
MEs are best suited to analysing problems and evaluating ideas and suggestions.
In a managerial position their ability to make high quality decisions consistently is likely to make them highly regarded.
Implementers are characterised by their practical approach and possess higher
than normal levels of self-control and discipline. They are prepared to work hard to ensure
things are done as prescribed in a systematic way.
IMPS succeed because they are efficient and because they have a sense of what is feasible and relevant. While many people might stray favouring the tasks they like to do and neglect things they find not to be to their liking an IMP is more likely to do what needs to be done in a systematic and relentless way.
Team workers possess a mild and sociable disposition and are generally
supportive and concerned about others. They have a great capacity for flexibility and adapting to different situations and people. TWs are perceptive, diplomatic and caring and tend to be good listeners.
Because of their ability to be able to resolve interpersonal problems TW’s come into their own when situations are tense and people feel uncared for and not appreciated. They can rise to senior positions because they have few enemies and the fact that they are ready to listen to the views and suggestions of others.
Completer Finishers have a great capacity for the attention to detail. The CF can be trusted to do work to the highest standard and to complete it on time.
The combination of striving for perfection and meeting deadlines often creates anxiety though and CFs are likely to be reluctant to trust others to do work to their own high standards.
The standards they set make them well suited to situations where precision and high standards are essential. CFs will also demand the same high standards from people around them and therefore create their own micro culture where the only standard acceptable is perfection.
Their main distinguishing feature is their love of learning. They see learning and the accumulation of knowledge as the main reason for their existence and their single minded and resolute pursuit of this end is their main motivation. The SP is likely to be recognised by colleagues as an expert to turn to for help and guidance.
While SPs may not be regarded as natural team players teams will be wise to engage
the SP as a means of providing in depth research. As managers, they command respect
because of their in-depth knowledge and they can be used to mentor others to raise their
From the above descriptions it can be seen that each Team Role has its own distinctive cluster of behavioural characteristics – with potential strengths and allowable weaknesses.
There are no good or bad Team roles but it is important for each person to know their own
Team Roles and those of their colleagues with whom they interact.
It is only by making use of complementary and collective strengths that individuals and teams can achieve their full potential – in short, nobody’s perfect, but a team can be.
Tuckman Stages of Group Development
Tuckman stages of group development – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjoining.
The stages are explained in details as follows:
Stage 1: Forming:
In this stage, there are mixed feelings among the group members like some are excited about the activities to be performed while some are nervous. Others are calm and composed. In this stage, team members try to get to know each other and are unaware of their roles and responsibilities.
Stage 2: Storming:
Storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members’ natural working styles. People may work in different ways for all sorts of reasons but, if differing working styles cause unanticipated problems, they may become frustrated. Some members can also doubt the team’s goals and may also resist on taking tasks. This is the most vital stage of group development as team is most likely to fall apart.
Stage 3: Norming:
After the storming stage of the Tuckman stages of group development, the team moves gradually in the norming stage. In this stage, members of the team start to resolve differences, appreciate fellow team member’s positive points and cooperate on establishing rules, values, standards and methods. There is often a prolonged overlap between storming and norming, because, as new tasks come up, the team may lapse back into behaviour from the storming stage.
Stage 4: Performing:
During the performing stage, the team functions as a unit and the energy of the group will benefit the task. All team members know exactly what is expected of them and they work together towards goals and objectives. The team functions excellently and is capable of making decisions independently and autonomously without having to confer with the team leader.
Stage 5: Adjourning:
The final stage where the team dissolves, particularly if it was built up to achieve an objective or for a fixed period. Team members who like routine, or who have developed close working relationships with colleagues, may find this stage difficult, particularly if their future now looks uncertain.
The activities carried out on the Team Building session were well suited to for me to get to know about those qualities which I wasn’t aware of. I had never really thought about the theoretical aspect of Team Roles until the exercises and group activities were only conscious about different individuals preferring to play different Roles. I wasn’t astonished at scoring the highest marks for role of Motivator/Elevator and Team Worker. This is because I knew about these roles of mine from the previous experiences in graduate college and professional life. During my professional career, I was working with a Mexican multinational company named Grupo Bimbo on an ETL project. We were a total of 6 people like a team of mixed experienced personalities. I joined the project as a Junior member with only 9 months of Information Technology experience under my belt. We had three members who had 5/6 years of total IT experience while the other two members had 2/3 years. The project was undergoing tense situations with escalations to the client over bad process deliveries and communication problems. I quickly understood the situation and decided to wear the hat of the motivator/elevator in the team by firstly understanding the process flow of different tasks and working properly in a pedantic manner to make sure to avoid any future escalations and complains. Our Team Lead played the different roles under the three different categories such as Implementer under Action-oriented, Co-ordinator under People-oriented and Plant under Thinking-oriented. For a fresher like me, my team leader became an inspiration for me not only for the work that he did but also for the way in which he led the team in difficult situations. This proved to be a lifetime experience for me and I turned out to be a more matured person while working on this project. This project was not only about learning technical part but also about the different aspects of roles that one can play in his/her day to day life. Hence performing the roles of Motivator/Elevator and Team Worker are more like inborn qualities that I have which I would also like to use them for my future assignments.
Coming back to the Team building session where I was astonished on scoring 2nd highest marks for the role of IMP(Implementer). On digging deep, I believe the Motivator/Elevator and Team Worker roles play to my natural strengths of thinking logically and deal in facts while considering options. Moreover, Communication skills, extroverted personality, over-enthusiastic add to my key strengths.
Thus, after taking the Belbin test, I would like to concentrate on the role of Implementer (IMP). After going through the characteristics of this role, I reckon that I possess higher than normal level of self-control and discipline. Moreover, I am also a firm believer that whatever tasks are been assigned to me/team should be done in a systematic manner and follow a practical approach wherever possible.
Other activities such as Stick Balancing and Blindfold puzzle taught me about teamwork, communication, coordination, leadership, focus on goals and objectives, reliability and positive attitude. The absence of any of them can lead to inexorable breakdown and can also cause failure to achieve planned goals/objectives. Constructive criticism holds equal importance to review the performances of each team members after completion of tasks.
Moreover, events like success parties are vital for boosting the morale of Team members and their importance should never be under-estimated.
After going through the team building exercise, one of the best things that Kathy Kirwan asked our batch is to write down the take-away points that you would have learnt in the session and try and implement them in your day to day life. Following were the take away points that I noted down:
• Importance of team co-ordination.
• Concrete and concise plan: Planning things in a proper manner.
• Appreciate team members in ways that one thinks is best with.
• Celebrations on achieving team goals.
• Patience is the key in difficult and tense situations.
• Understanding the roles and responsibilities.
In the team building exercise,
Adapted from: Tuckman, B. (1965) Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399. Tuckman, B. & Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of Small Group Development. Group and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm Accessed: 10 Oct. 2018
https://www.toolshero.com/management/tuckman-stages-of-group-development Accessed: 10 Oct. 2018
Topics, Sample Papers & Articles Online for Free. (2016). Academic and Career Goals. Online. Available at: https://studymoose.com/academic-and-career-goals-essayAccessed: 11 Oct. 2018
Decision-making involves the selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to arrive at a solution for a given problem
-Trewatha & Newport.
Decision making skills are one of the most vital skills that one should possess in his/her life. These skills help you to make all those decisions which are believed to be correct according to one perspective in certain situations. These skills come within oneself and cannot be bestowed from others.
My experience of decision making goes back to my college days and one of the best experiences that I had was during my final year of under graduations. We were a team of 8 people who were responsible to organise Paintball event. The college had allotted a budget of 25,000 rupees for this event and was one of the costliest events planned during that festival. I was responsible for negotiating the contract with the person who was going to rent the paintball gear. Since it was a major event and the college committee had all eyes on our event, it was very important for us to give our 100% for the event. I did some research on the internet on how does event planning industry works for making events successful. I shared this research with my fellow workers and we all agreed to se