Team functions
We’re all different. But it’s surprising how many qualities we expect every-
body to share when they’re at work. I’m not talking about skills, which we
can all learn, but styles of working and strengths and weaknesses which
are a part of our personalities. We tend to expect everyone to generate ideas
when they’re needed, or to be diplomatic in dealing with other departments
and organisations, or to be thorough in dealing with the small but important
details of the tasks we ask them to perform.
When you think about it, this is ludicrous of course. Certainly there are
skills we can learn which will improve our performance in these areas to
some extent, but essentially our qualities are part of our make up and we
will always be better at some things than others. However the good news
is that if we work in teams, it doesn’t really matter – not on an individual
level. What matters is that the team as a whole has access to these
talents. You need someone on your team who can generate new ideas,
but you don’t need everyone to be able to do it. In fact, that could lead to
a great deal of conflict and create more problems than solutions.
A team leader needs to assemble a group of individuals who between
them add up to a whole – the team – which is greater than the sum of its
parts. To do this, you need to identify the individual personality types to
include in your team to make sure that every useful quality is included
somewhere. Well, you’re in luck, because it’s already been done for you.
Dr Meredith Belbin has spent around thirty years researching the nature,
structure and behaviour of teams, and his highly respected work on
Team Role Theory provides a clear profile of the basic personality types

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