One of the most commonly used team building theories is that of Dr R Meredith Belbin. Belbin devised a questionnaire which illustrated the different personality types of workers. Belbin decided that there were eight types of worker in the 1970s and a ninth type has been added since then.
An example of a Belbin type is a Resource Investigator, one who is extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative, explores opportunities and develops contacts. Another example is the Completer Finisher, which is as it sounds. There are nine types in total and we tend to have a bit of each of them in our personality as a whole. However, some are more predominant than others. It would be unusual for someone to be strong in both creative and analytical functions.
Belbin helps us to understand ourselves and those we work with better. Importantly the Belbin theory gives each type ‘allowable weaknesses’, because no-one can be good at everything. This brings out such insights as; 'I feel stressed when I am asked to do certain things'.
One of the key features of a successful team is that each member understands their colleagues and takes account of their strengths and weaknesses. It enables you to understand what you should rely on people for and what you would be better asking someone else to do.
It is important to understand that Belbin is not about putting people into boxes but about creating deeper understand and a more successful team. An experienced facilitator who understands how this works will help your team to get the most out of the programme.
Belbin, run well, is fascinating and also great fun. It can be combined with activities which make the day an enjoyable team building experience.
Participants will be asked to fill out a survey prior to the event. This will be collated and a team compilation can be added. This shows the team where they are strong and where they may have gaps. Sometimes these gaps are okay, because the team does not need them covered. In other cases it may answer questions such as; 'Why do we fail in certain areas'. These are key insights.
On the day of the event the facilitator will help people to understand their results and answer any questions. No-one will be humiliated; there are no wrong answers and no types that are better or worse than others. The end result will be a happier, more self-aware team.