NOBODY'S PERFECT - BUT A TEAM CAN BE “Integrating Diverse Styles – the Key to High Performing Teams”

by Philip Merry CSp, CSPGlobal

In today’s world there often seems to be a search for perfection in our leaders and managers. We want them to have a “big picture focus, be able to manage the detail, make sure that practical implementation is completed, counsel team members, and oh yes while you’re at it we also want them to be creative.” Unfortunately such a person does not exist, or if they do they drive people crazy by over managing, or end up so stressed that they retire early. We seem to forget that the real measure of successful teams is their ability to combine the varied team skills together effectively, and it is the leader’s primary role to make sure this happens.

Assessing Team Styles: the Belbin Model

But how to take the guessing out of assessing team styles? There are many good systems for doing this but the one that has been around the longest and is globally recognised is the team role model of Dr Meredith Belbin. Originally asked to do research into why some teams worked well and some didn’t, the original research at Henley Management College led to 9 years of rigorous research into team effectiveness. The Belbin model identifies 9 types of roles, which is still the gold standard of team styles today.

What is your “natural” Team Style?

To be effective in a team you need to be able to understand your unique style – most of us have 2-3 dominant styles and there are other styles we are not so good at. The 9 styles are outlined below - which style are you?


Plant: very creative, the ideas person


Resource Investigator: extrovert, good at making outside contacts and developing ideas


Monitor Evaluator: shrewd and prudent, analytical


Shaper: dynamic and challenging


Co-ordinator: respected, mature and good at ensuring that talents are used effectively


 Implementer: practical, loyal and task orientated


Completer Finisher: meticulous and attention to detail, full of nervous energy


Team Worker: caring and very person orientated


Specialist: high technical skill and professional as opposed to organisational niceties

 All styles are needed

The usefulness of the model is that whatever style you are the team needs you!! It is also good to know the styles at which you do not excel. How many times have leaders given detail tasks to people who are essentially big picture oriented, or jobs that require toughness to people who are essentially very harmonious in their nature, it does not work. Understanding a person’s preferred and least preferred team style is the secret to building high performing global teams. A Belbin Team Profile has observer and self-perception inputs enabling team members to compare other’s perceptions.

 Singapore Team Style

I have been running Belbin workshops for 35 years and in Singapore since 1990. While cultures have all styles represented, I have noticed that countries have strengths in certain styles, and Singaporeans seem to be the world’s most effective Implementers. Perfect leaders are few and far between, but leaders can build perfect teams by recognizing and using their team member’s strongest styles effectively.

If you woudl live to be accreditetd to run Belbin team events see:


Philip has 41 years consulting, training and coaching experience in 61 countries on building High Performing Multi-Cultural Teams and Leadership. As the only person in the world to receive a grounded theory PhD on Synchronicity and Leadership, he is well placed to help leaders and teams understand the power of synchronicity and intuition to help Lead the Future and maximise team success.  An in-...

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NOBODY'S PERFECT - BUT A TEAM CAN BE “Integrating Diverse Styles – the Key to High Performing Teams” | Asia Professional Speakers Singapore


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