This is the second part of two lectures on the subject of Groups and Teams, and today we had to evaluate ourselves – and what kind of team members we are, what our roles should be – and the overall complexity of our team combined. This was done through a method designed by the UK-based company Belbin. This proved to be a very rewarding exercise in which we not only got to dig deeper into the dynamics of our group, but also learned what we need to improve on an individual level. Or maybe not, as the conclusion later will shed some light on.
As our study group are getting more experienced in preparing and delegating tasks, the workflow continue to improve. For today we had to individually do a self-perception inventory analysis, where each of us answered a questionnaire regarding how we perceive ourself to work in a team – and what we prefer to do when facing team challenges and tasks. After completing the questionnaire we had to enter the data into an analysis sheet to see our personal team-role distribution score. My individual scores were as following:
So what does this mean? Well, here is a summary of the strengths indicated by being a Shaper, Co-ordinator and a Completer.
The Belbin evaluation says: Challenging and handles pressure very well. Often has a lot of drive and courage to overcome obstacles – although maybe at the expense of being prone to provocation and offending people´s emotions. Mature, confident and able to identify talent. Clarifies goals and delegates effectively. On the negative side this might be seen as manipulative, or trying to offload my own share of the work. Lastly, these results also indicates me being painstaking, conscientious and anxious – which leads me to search our errors and being somewhat of a perfectionist.
In my personal opinion there is a lot of spot on analysis here, considering how I experience myself and how I work with others. Although there is a few of the details that I do not agree on – as Belbin says, this is not a personality test. Especially I can mention the part where it might seem like the “Shaper” is trying to offload the work onto others, which in most cases with me can be the opposite. As a “perfectionist” I tend to grab on to the most important and “heavy” parts of the workload in order to ensure good quality. Being provocative on the other hand – that I am not a stranger to. But never seems to be a problem if you are aware of the risks in being a so-called “Shaper”.
So how did we evaluate the entire teams combined scores? I have to admit, I thought I was being a smarty-pants when suggesting that we could take all our scores, add them up, and then see where our strengths are – and what our weaknesses might be. And therefore, also analyzing what challenges we might face in the future. After reading the activity sheets once more – I notice that this is exactly what we are supposed to do! Kudos to my team for not mentioning this whilst I were ranting on like an idiot about how “my way” is the most logical way to evaluate the team scores! Anyway, this is how our team scores looked like:
As a team we are still quite strong in the areas of Shaper and Completer. Actually, out of the four team members – three of us had Shaper on the top of team-roles. Luckily we complemented each other in the other areas, but this shows that we consist of a team of like-minded personalities. But since there is a certain diversity in the group, we were in the total able to complement each other enough so that the teams scores did not peak too much in either direction. When looking at the scores and the individual team members placement in the “role circle” – we found that our strengths are being dynamic and handling pressure very well. We are very concerned about delivering an as-close-to-perfect result, and we all have a common understanding on how that works. Our team is also very strong when it comes to being efficient, reliable and practical. The test shows that we will quickly turn ideas into action.
When it comes to the teams weaknesses – the lowest scores were found at Teamworker, Monitor-evaluator and Resource-investigator. This means that we should be lacking in areas such as being co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Issues could also be that we are lacking strategy, not being outgoing and enthusiastic enough – and unable to jugde accurately. But, since our scores as a team were not all that bad – we took an extra look on how we functioned in reality and found that little of these issues were to be found.
So, as far as challenges goes – we did not foresee any huge ones. But we did have a few concerns which was our ability to delegate and to conclude on a common goal. When everyone is a perfectionist – it gets hard to say that we are done doing a task, or accepting the completed work from others when spotting mistakes. Searching for errors are our worst enemy, because we are always looking for improved results.
That being said – when our team were to complete this activity, it was completed with a perfect collaboration. All of the team members contributed in their own way – which lead to us getting better and faster results. It was actually very awesome to experience. Good on you teamies – S. Baar, M.A. Helliksen and I.L. Westeng!