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Bernard Chanliau

Xenergie Consulting Ltd

Director

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How Balance is Your Working Team?

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Teams are groups with tasks with a process and focused leaning and the role of the team leader is to mobilize the group so that it can carry out its primary task. Thus one of the responsibilities of the team leader is to maintain and improve the functioning of the group. Teams like any group are subject to destructive processes which can impede their effectiveness. The greater awareness managers have of these processes, the better they will be able to counteract their force and ensure productive functioning, hence increase productivity through incremental efficiencies.

Recent Team Coaching engagements have led the Xenergie coaching panel working with different types of senior management teams ranging from over dominance of Plants (PL) within an academic institution to over-reliance with implementers (IMP) within a lean manufacturing multinational. The dynamic of the teams is mirrored back through the Belbin team average reports where on one side we have a very talkative intelligent and intellectually able group, however prone to analysis by paralysis as a thinking team and on the lean manufacturing side a very efficient team in pursuing agreed goals and bringing about the results that are desired however dependent on task orientated goals – doers waiting for orders to come from the top.

During his research at Henley Business Management School, Meredith found that each of the nine identified clusters of behaviours were essential in getting the team successfully from start to finish. The key was balance as Belbin celebrates diversity.

Belbin’s theory that a team composed in a balanced fashion will generally outperform an imbalanced one was tested in multiple iterations management simulations and doctoral research during the last twenty plus years. Belbin’s Team Role Theory gives a company much more predictive power (and thus control) over team effectiveness than is possible with other methods. These results established Belbin as a world leader in behavioural science research.

The focus of the transition from unbalance to balance teams, aligned with the individual contribution of each team members within the context of an organisation usually leads to inter-personal skills coaching – we have three nested levels within one system (the individual and their team role contribution, interpersonal relationships between team members and the team dynamics).

How much of your leadership success depends on your ability to skilfully relate to others? Whether it’s clients, senior management, staff or co-workers, your ability to effectively communicate and master key relationships could be the most important component of your success and fulfilment.

What is the remedy? Specifically, what is required is that each of the nine roles is represented on a team. This leads to raising self awareness and personal effectiveness and building mutual trust and understanding within the team – a strong foundation for inter-personal skills.

As you’ve just seen, knowledge of Belbin strengths and weaknesses can have a huge effect on both personal and professional development and the success of the performance of your team(s).

Initiating a project without consideration of team composition is a classic failure mode seen throughout companies today. The Belbin Team Role Theory can be applied to both diagnose existing working teams and to design new ones from scratch. It is the diagnosis and identification of countermeasures that lies at the heart of consistently successful project teams and project leaders minimising defence mechanisms such as denial, divisions, scapegoating, splits…etc. It has been our experience through Belbin team coaching that projects can be shortened by the judicious use of team composition techniques because it eliminates wasted effort or indecision—to say nothing of improved quality of results or the more positive experiences of the team members.

Bernard Chanliau will be facilitating the next Belbin Team Role certification on the 25th September in Dublin with Barrie Watson, Director of Belbin Associates UK. A Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF), master trainer in the Belbin methodology, Bernard has significant experience in coaching senior management teams and leads the Xenergie faculty with its X-Perience Systemic Team Coaching certificate. He can be contacted on +353 (0)86 104 38 05 or LinkedIn

Belbin Team Coaching.jpg

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Bernard Chanliau

Director

Read more from Bernard Chanliau
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