Even before he said it I knew it was coming. I focused on the weird plants at the back of his office because if I didn’t, my eyes would betray my mounting dread.
“I need you to work with Nathan and Mubanga on this project”
“I could actually do the ground work much faster on my own, I can then hand it over to them for any revisions and implementation.”
“No I’d prefer if you did the entire project together”
I knew he was right! It was easier to get buy in from individuals who were there at a projects inception, if nothing else they had greater ownership of the work. But the Emotional Intelligence and Verbal Restraint required to work with those two was astronomical!
We all dread teamwork to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong, we all have that work buddy who is an absolute delight to work with, in the same breath there are just certain people who make collaboration a living nightmare.
Eons ago, it was believed that group intelligence (collated IQ) was the single determinant of group or team success. It was however discovered that intelligence wasn’t the single most important factor, balance was.
This entails that team success is partly dependent on having a different balance and mix of people possessing different strengths and weaknesses. Meredith Belbin came up with 9 Team Roles that should be present for team success (see if you can spot what roles you play and let us know in the comments section);
Plants are creative, unorthodox and generators of ideas. If an innovative solution to a problem is needed, a Plant is a good person to ask. However, Plants can tend to ignore incidentals and the fact that the team has decided on a valid way forward and is now in the implementation stage will not stop the Plant from coming up with new solutions and disrupting the implementation process.
The Resource Investigator gives a team a rush of enthusiasm at the start of the project by vigorously pursuing contacts and opportunities. He or she is focused outside the team, and has a finger firmly on the pulse of the outside world. Where a Plant creates new ideas, a Resource Investigator will quite happily appropriate them from other companies or people, however they may tend to lose momentum towards the end of a project and to forget to follow things up.
A Coordinator is a likely candidate for the chairperson of a team, since they have a talent for stepping back to see the big picture. Coordinators are confident, stable and mature and because they recognize abilities in others, they are very good at delegating tasks to the right person for the job. Coordinators are sometimes perceived to be manipulative and will tend to delegate all work, leaving nothing but the delegating for them to do.
The Shaper is a task-focused individual who energetically pursues objectives and who is driven by tremendous energy and the need to achieve. For the Shaper, winning is the name of the game. The Shaper is the one who shakes things up to make sure that all possibilities are considered and that the team does not become complacent. However, Shapers will risk becoming aggressive and bad-humoured in their attempts to get things done.
Monitor Evaluators are fair and logical observers and judges of what is going on in the team. They take a broad view when problem-solving, and by moving slowly and analytically, will almost always come to the right decision. However, they can become very critical, dampening enthusiasm for anything without logical grounds, and they have a hard time inspiring themselves or others to be passionate about their work.
A Teamworker is the oil between the cogs that keeps the machine that is the team running smoothly. They are good listeners and diplomats, talented at smoothing over conflicts and helping parties understand one another without becoming confrontational. Because of an unwillingness to take sides, Teamworkers may not be able to take decisive action when it’s needed.
The Implementer takes their colleagues’ suggestions and ideas and turns them into positive action. They are efficient and self-disciplined, and can always be relied on to deliver on time. However, they may be seen as closed-minded and inflexible since they will often have difficulty deviating from their own well-thought-out plans, especially if such a deviation compromises efficiency or threatens well-established practices.
The Completer Finisher is a perfectionist and will often go the extra mile to make sure everything is “just right,” and the things he or she delivers can be trusted to have been double-checked and then checked again. Finishers usually frustrate their teammates by worrying excessively about minor details and by refusing to delegate tasks that they do not trust anyone else to perform.
Specialists are passionate about learning in their own particular field. As a result, they are likely to be a fountain of knowledge and will enjoy imparting this knowledge to others. They also strive to improve and build upon their expertise, however more often than not they can only contribute on that specialism and will tend to be uninterested in anything which lies outside its narrow confines.