I am a firm believer in discovering your strong and weak points as a means for personal development. People who know their strong and weak points are often more effective in their lives. They know when things are going over their heads and when they can be of added value.
Identifying your weak points is usually not an easy process. It is very natural for people to be able to describe their strong points well, but having a hard time really defining their weak points, or vice-versa. Luckily, there are methods of identifying your weak points by knowing your strong points, and the other way around!
The Belbin system is one of these methods and is aimed at individuals within teams. The method is based on the natural behavior of people instead of their skills or their hierarchical position. Belbin defines 9 roles, which each has it’s unique strong and weak points. A successful team needs all of the roles represented, and usually multiple roles can be identified in a single person.
Controls the way the team tries to reach her objectives. Uses the strenghts of each of the individual team members. Coordinators are usually calm, selfconfident people.
- Ability to gain respect
- Ability to create enthusiasm
- Feeling for timing and balance
- Good communicator
- No exceptional creative or intellectual insights
Guides the effort of the team by explaining aims and priorities. The shaper looks for patterns in discussions and tries to shape group activities. Shapers are commonly seen as dynamic, externally oriented and provocative people.
- Convinced of his/her own capability
- Intolerant of vague ideas and people
Generates new ideas and strategies. The plant usually looks for solutions for problems the team is facing. Plants are usually serious but creative people, with an unorthodox attitude.
- High IQ
- Independent opinion
- Being impractical
- Having their heads in the clouds
- Weak in communicating with others
Evaluates ideas and suggestions so the team can make a well-balanced decision. Monitor Evaluators are sober, academic and prudent people.
- Ability for critical thinking
- Ability to see through complexity
- Too critical
- A bit too serious
Transfers plans and strategies to practical and workable procedures. Is systemetic and efficient. Implementers are conservative, predictable and have a good sense of duty.
- Self controlled
- Practical, common-sense
- Lack of flexibility
- No open mind for speculative ideas
Searches for new ideas and information outside the team. Resource investigators look for (new) external contacts and negotiate well. People who fall into the resource investigator role are extrovert, enthousiastic, curious people who communicate well.
- Extrovert personality
- Strong investigating mind
- Willingness to explore everything new
- Lack of follow-up
Encourages team spirit and the strenghts of the other team members and supports their weaknesses. Team workers are socially oriented, sensative and calculated people.
- Service minded and helpful
- Ability to listen
- Lack of decisiveness
- Hates conflicts and competition
Prevents the team from everything that can go wrong or can be forgotten and accelerates the team. Completer finishers are very ordened, conscientious and caring people.
- The power to create concerns
- Good feeling for order and efficiency
- Strong personality
- Intolerant to people with a global attitude
Supplies knowledge and skills where needed, supports weaknesses of team members and encourages team spirit. Specialists are commonly seen as being fascinated einzelgangers (loners), who are limited in their skillset.
- Dedicated towards others
- Focused, goal oriented
- Full of initiative
- Input is limited to a small area of expertise
- Slows down on technicalities
- No sense of ‘the big picture’
Identifying your own Belbin role
Now that you understand all the Belbin roles, you can see which role(s) fit(s) you best. Base this selection on the strong points if you feel comfortable with your strong points. If you’re more comfortable with your weak points, base the selection on those.
You now have an idea of the complementing set of strong/weak points to go with your personality. However, since you performed the selection of your Belbin role yourself, this is still a limited view. Go out and ask your co-workers, friends and the volunteers you work with at the localsports club/bar/whatever to select a Belbin role they think you fit.
Know that you may have different roles based on the context you are in!