Dr. Stephen Treacy
An assignment 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.
Team Building Exercise
After the presentation, Kathy Kirwan carried out the following activities in the team building activity. The activities were –
• Speed Friendship
• Stick Balancing
• Blindfolded Puzzle
• Behavioural Test
In this activity, we were made to form two concentric circles with the participants in the inner circle facing their counterparts in the outer one. Every person in the inner circle was asked to interact with the one in the outer circle for a time limit of 1 minute after which the latter moved forward in a clockwise direction. As this activity is named, Kathy asked us to have a conversation with our counterpart just to get to know each other and if possible also share some facts or secrets with them. I was standing in the outer circle and got to interact with this all the participants in the inner circle. I personally loved this activity since being an International student it is important to talk to people belonging from other culture and also get to know about the lesser known facts from them. Previously, I attended the Speed friendship activities organised by UCC International Society where I got a chance to interact with students from multiple country such as France, Spain, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Austria, China, Slovakia and many more. This activity was based on similar grounds but the only difference here was that I interacted with students from my class. This activity helped boost my confidence and I made some new friends. It was an amazing experience talking to people and learning about their hobbies, experiences and some facts about them. Moreover, this activity can be useful for people who are introvert and can help them overcome their shyness.
Stick Balancing Act
This activity is a pure reflection of teamwork. In this activity, we were divided into three teams of eight people each. All members of the teams were asked to stand in two parallel lines facing each other and each team was given a stick to balance between them. Every member had to balance the stick on their index finger alone and the aim was to slowly lower the stick to the ground without any person losing contact with it. If any member did so, the team had to start over. Our team started exceptionally well with keeping in mind to make sure to balance the stick on their index fingers. Gradually, we started lowering the stick to the ground with each person contributing to the act. One of our group members suggested to observe the index finger of the person standing opposite to one. This suggestion proved to be very helpful for performing the activity and we successfully lowered the stick to the ground. Our team consisted of jolly members with all of them smiling and enjoying the activity which in turn proved to be a wonderful experience for me.
In this activity, we were asked to complete a behavioural test form. There were different sections within the test and we needed to assign the maximum points based on how we would respond in particular circumstances. This form was something totally new to me as it was something about oneself and one has to answer each question sincerely to get proper results. Thus, this test was one of the most vital part of the team building exercise. My two highest scores were Motivator/Elevator and Team worker. I found this obvious because I am that kind of person who likes to motivate people and also wants to work in a team and believes that everyone should work as a team.
I would also have to agree with my lowest score being Plant as I often fall short of innovative new ideas.
The final activity was the most interesting part of the team building exercise. Kathy divided us into four teams of six with each asked to complete a jigsaw puzzle. However, there were a few rules that the participants had to follow. Only two individuals wearing the provided blindfolds were allowed to interact with the jigsaw blocks, with the rest of the team permitted to guide them. Our team decided to adopt a three-pronged approach –
• Ensuring the blindfolded Team members worked on opposite sides, averting any mishap. An apt term for these members would be the ‘hand’.
• Assigning one Team member to function as the exclusive eyes and ears of each blindfolded member i.e. the ‘stick’.
• Having the other two members oversee the whole operation and suggest changes, if need be. These two were the ‘brain’.
While there was near-unanimous agreement on the devised plan of action, it was difficult to agree on the team members who would be the hand. This is understandable, as the blindfolded member would be handicapped and have to rely entirely on the instructions of the stick. Any misunderstanding could even lead to potential injury. However, two members finally had the courage to volunteer, making it quite easy to slot into the other two positions. Before the activity began, the team decided to stack all the puzzle blocks in the center, making it easier for the hand to reach.
Once Kathy gave the go-ahead, the team began the activity in earnest. However, our team had failed to consider one simple aspect – clarity of direction. The hand and their stick were facing each other, meaning that the left of the former was the right of the latter -causing immediate confusion. This was rapidly resolved by the stick referring to the direction of the hand and not their own. The brain charged with overseeing the entire activity would advise the stick on which blocks to join, which the latter then communicated to the hand. After a few blocks were correctly joined, the excitement became palpable, and the brain began to guide the hand as well. This led to considerable stress for the hand as it was receiving simultaneous instructions from both brain and stick – sometimes directly contradictory to each other. The hand made it quite clear that it would only accept inputs from one source, compelling the brain to step back. The team had also decided that we would encourage the hand for a job done appropriately, which was ensured.
Before starting, there was an implicit agreement to a change in role or strategy if either did not work, as Kathy had given her consent to switching the hand with another member after he or she joined two blocks correctly. This proved unnecessary for our team as the hand, stick, and brain were all able to perform their required role effectively. Eventually, three teams were able to complete the jigsaw within a minute or two of each other, with only one proving to be laggards.
When Kathy asked us to introspect after completion, we realized that all but one of our team members had viewed it as a competition against other teams. Subconsciously, we had transformed into Shapers with a desire to win over all else. This explained why the brain and the stick began to give simultaneous instructions to the hand, as even the very idea of defeat seemed like sacrilege. Perhaps our lone member who did not view the activity as a race sensed the situation getting out of hand and put on the Teamworker cap to defuse the tension. Interestingly, there was one team in which not a single member viewed the activity as a competition but merely an opportunity to enjoy. Either by implicit or explicit agreement, they had chosen to adopt the role of either Teamworker or Co-Ordinator, avoiding the winner-take-all attitude that
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/Evaluator 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/Evaluator 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/Evaluator 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/Evaluator 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.
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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