THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Is it the era of the “Teamworker”?

abdicationAbdication is currently fashionable – so it seems.  In Belbin terms, is it the era of Teamworkers?  Lets look at each Belbin role, one a week for the time being, and interpret it in the context of whatever is happening this week.

There have been some notable abdicators in the past.  But they aren’t all Teamworkers! Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has done it; the Pope did it for the first time in Vatican history; even Alex Ferguson recently handed over his long-held crown.  Last night The Apprentice adopted the trait, and we saw the sacking of Jason Leech who abdicated his Project Manager role for the “good of the team’s success” but in the face of a clear case of extreme-Shaper-bullying.  Teamworkers are diplomatic, popular and routinely avert friction. They are sensers and always try to please other people’s needs. That was certainly Jason’s motivation for his abdication last night.

Teamworkers will make other colleagues feel better about being dumped on or being hurt by something another has said.  We saw this in action last night as Jason articulated why he was buckling to Luisa’s (Shaper?) techniques.  Every team needs a Teamworker, but are they exploited and can they reach the leadership heights of being the Number One?

Do you see abdication as a noble gesture in certain circumstances, or do you see it as the easy way out of an uncomfortable scenario?  However you see it, will say something about your preferred Belbin Team Role, how you fit into any team and what your preference for the role you play within it, is.

In a professional world, this is closely related in my view, to how people are valued for what they are doing.  I’ve seen it many times: extroverts who require fast and timely feedback as to how they are doing will, under severe stress, pick up their teddies and walk if they feel unrecognised and undervalued for their personal contributions.  Feeling valued is a KEY INDICATOR of job performance after all.

Teamworkers are people oriented, so they feel valued when they receive recognition for looking after things: feelings; people; tasks etc. They are popular folk, very capable in their own right but tend to prioritise team cohesion and helping people get along over anything else.  They have tendencies of being indecisive, and are often uncommitted during discussions and decision making.  Sounds like a Jason description doesn’t it?  They are NOT weak people, never make that misinterpretation.

Shapers are action oriented people who feel frustrated in the absence of action.  They are hugely challenging individuals, extroverted, and constantly question the norm, often highly argumentative and they see themselves as courageous in pushing forward in circumstances where others feel like stopping – we certainly saw this last night.  They often offend others feelings yet fail to see it happening in a haze of their own red mist.  Very much Luisa – professional maturity and lifelong learning can (and will) temper this.  It’s usually called “experience”.

Upon his sacking, Jason quoted Nietzsche by saying: “when you’re battling with monsters, be sure you don’t become a monster yourself.”  I loved this because it says much for his Teamworker traits in how he sees Shapers.  There is no room for monsters in the workplace – Shapers need to learn self awareness and more than anything else, value team diversity and what others bring, but most of all be able to be adaptive to situations in order to bring the best out in others, not to walk all over them.

If you want to learn how to construct  and then manage a high performing team, recognising all the value the core but different role traits play in producing high performing teams, give us a call for a full Belbin analysis of your current team – and lets start turning that into a high performing team sooner rather than later: 01550 720902 / 07932 641313 will start that process today.


THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Can resilience be developed?

resilienceInteresting question this week.  Building more resilient individuals and teams rests at the heart of an organisation development programme so it seemed timely to look at it in more detail.  The paradox of resilience is that at our worst times we can become our very best.  It is forged through adversity and not despite it.

So investing in the ability to overcome setbacks and absorbing any learning offered by those setbacks quickly, and with minimum personal cost is of vital importance. We need to develop an inner state of readiness, the capacity to bend and absorb shocks and stresses, to counter those stresses by transitioning back and then to reform our new state of readiness which has absorbed the learning from that shock.

It therefore follows that there are increasing levels of resilience from that which offers a change of approach or working, to that where a person transforms an extreme challenge into an opportunity and thereby achieves good outcomes from the setback even in the face of extreme loss.

So whether we know it or not, rest assured that we all possess an internal resilience engine.  The challenge is to keep it healthy AND to learn from it’s various deployments into one or another setback.  Our very own engines all have a simple 2+7+1 menu of:

  • 2 beliefs:  a belief in our purpose in life at that given time, plus a belief in our own judgement;
  • 7 attitudes: the combination of these is critical for the highest level of resilience;
  1. takes full responsibility for self, own actions and reactions;
  2. doesn’t dwell, forgives when necessary, moves on;
  3. doesn’t take oneself too seriously.  Humanity and self deprecating humour;
  4. Is optimistic;
  5. Is grounded and pragmatic;
  6. Has high levels of independence and independent judgement;
  7. values others and their opinions.
  • 1 element of self acceptance: we need to know ourselves deeply, and accept our strengths, gremlins and blind spots.

Self development is possible across all these components and any great OD Plan will incorporate them in one way or another.  We can help of course, so if you are interested, ring us on 01550 720902 or 07932 641313 to discuss further.

In the meantime, as a leader, consider this: How can you build strong relationships that forge resilient organisations?


Stephen M.R. Covey, says, “Relationship trust is all about behaviour … consistent behaviour.” (From: “The Speed of Trust.” Today, seven years after publishing, it’s still #2 in Business-Life, Ethics, on Amazon.)

Covey explains 13 behaviors common to high-trust leaders:

  1. Talk straight. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language.
  2. Demonstrate respect. Genuinely care and show it.
  3. Create transparency. Tell the truth in a way that can be verified. Err on the side of disclosure.
  4. Right Wrongs. Apologise quickly. Make restitution where possible.
  5. Show loyalty. Give credit freely. Speak about people as if they were present.
  6. Deliver results. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t make excuses.
  7. Get better. Thank and act on feedback.
  8. Confront reality. Take issues head on, even the “undiscussibles.”
  9. Clarify expectations. Disclose, reveal, discuss, validate, renegotiate if needed, don’t violate, expectations.
  10. Practice accountability. Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate.
  11. Listen first. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others.
  12. Keep commitments. Make commitments carefully. Don’t break confidences.
  13. Extend trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned it. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning it.

How many of these would someone else put your name against right now?  Collectively, these behaviours will help your organisation absorb shocks, bounce back and be stronger and more resilient in the future.  These behaviours should be the cornerstones of your management team.  They take time to develop so take the first step in helping them become “the way you do things” by ringing us on 01550 720902 or 07932 641313

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