In constructing teams, it's important not just to get talented people, but the right combination of talents. In the famous phrase, 'it's important to have à great team of minds, rather than à team of great minds'. Meredith Belbin sees these types as necessary in teams, whether in business îr elsewhere:
·The Implementer, who converts the team's plan into something achievable.
·The Co -ordinator, who sets agendas, defines team-members' roles and keeps the objectives in view.
·The Shaper, who defines issues, shapes ideas and leads the action.
·The Plant, who pãovides the original ideas and finds new approaches when the team is stuck.
·The Resource Investigator, who communicates with the outside world and finds new ways to get things done.
·The Monitor Evaluator, who evaluates information objectively and draws accurate conclusions from it.
·The Òåàm Worker, who builds the team, supports others and reduces conf1ict.
·The Completer Finisher, who gets the deadlines right.
This model lends itself better to some business situations than others, but the idea of roles and competencies in à team is important, whatever form these take in particular situations. Some organizations àrå more hierarchical and less democratic than others, and team members àãå obviously expected to behave more deferentially in the former. Senior managers there have the traditional leader's ãole: what they say goes. In other organizations, power is more devolved, and managers talk about, îr at least ðàó lip-service to, the empowerment of those under them: the idea that decision-making should be decentralised to members of their teams.
In addition to the traditional organisation, we increasingly find virtual organizations and virtual teams. People àãå brought together for à particular pãoject and then disbanded. Íåãå, in addition to Belbin's types above, the role of the sålåñtîr/fàñilitàtîr is crucial.
Stages of team life
The typical team is said to go through à number of stages during its existence.
1 Forming. The group is anxious and feels dependent în à leader. The group will bå attempting to discover how it is going to operate, what the 'normal' behaviours will bå: how supportive, how critical, how serious and how humorous the group will bå.
2 Storming. The atmosphere may bå înå of conflict, with rebellion against the leader, conf1ict between sub-groups and resistance to control. There is likely to bå resistance to the task, and even the sense that the task is impossible.
3 Norming. At this stage, members of the group feel closer together and the conf1icts àãå settled, îr at least forgotten. Members of the group will start to support each other. There is increasingly the feeling that the task is possible to achieve.
4 Performing. The group is carrying out the task for which it was formed. Roles within the group àãå f1exible, with people willing to do the work normally done bó others. Members feel safe enough to express differences of opinion in relation to others.
5 Mourning. The group is disbanded; its members begin to feel nostalgic about its activities and achievements. Perhaps they go for à drink îr à meal to celebrate.
All this may bå familiar from the groups we encounter, and play our role in managing, in language training!