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A Team of Characters

by Para planner on 20·09·2016

One day, many years ago, I decided to sit the Chartered Insurance Institute's 'H15 Supervision and Sales Management' exam. In the same way as when I was forced to learn Latin during my grammar school days, I have spent many occasions determined to find some use for the knowledge I learnt. As you would expect the occasion to use the Latin language has not yet presented itself. However, a situation occurred in work this week that made me think about the different characters within a successful team.

I remember a section in my studies that focussed on the nine Belbin Team Roles compiled by Dr Meredith Belbin. These where compiled as a conclusion to his research on team behaviour. He believed that for a team or company to be successful access is needed to each of these roles. This is relevant to any company and I think highlights the need to have several types of character within a working environment.

I had mild fun when writing this article deciding which role I suited and whether access to these roles existed at The Timebank.  The nine roles can be summarised as follows:

Resource Investigator
+ Inquisitive and outgoing, Enthusiastic over new opportunities
- Over-optimistic, Can lose interest and forgetful

+ Co-operative and diplomatic, Perceptive and good listener
- Indecisive, Hesitant to make unpopular decisions

+ Clarifies objectives, Delegates works appropriately
- Manipulative, Over-delegates so minimal work

+ Highly creative, Innovative problem solving
- Ignores incidentals, Absent minded

Monitor Evaluator
+ Logical and subjective, Dispassionate view
- Overly critical, Slow decision making

+ In-depth subject knowledge, Single minded
- Narrow contribution, Dwells on technicalities

+Drives company through obstacles, Thrives under pressure
- Provokes and offends, Aggressive and bad-humoured

+ Carries out efficient strategies, Practical and organised
- Inflexible to new possibilities, Slow to relinquish own plans

Complete Finisher
+ Quality control, Conscientious and painstaking
- Worries unduly and reluctant to delegate, Takes perfectionism to extremes


Obviously, different people will show the character traits of many different roles but ultimately one role is more likely to suit than others.

When you look at the different strengths and weaknesses it demonstrates how important recruitment can be in finding a team with balance. It is also important to embrace the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who demonstrate these traits. Maybe the strength can only cohabit with the weakness of the individual?

One thing is certain; if you recruit an individual you gain one set of attributes, skills and experience. If you outsource to a team, you gain many!