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Competencies of Team Members

G. Balasubramanian | Chairperson, Board of Advisors, ICSL | Editor-in-Chief, The Progressive School


The success of an effective leader lies on the nature of the members of the team. Every individual of the group contributes to the success of the team in small or larger measure. A leader understands the nature of the members of the team and uses their talents appropriately in order to maximize their output and bring greater synergy in the function of the team. Many researchers have studied about the impact of the team members on the performance of the team.


Prof. Meridith Belbin of Henley Management College, UK conducted a survey on the members of various groups and discovered certain combinations of personality types using psychometric tests. It is called Belbin’s nine archetypal team members. The categories are as under:


Completer: Diligent, hardworking, meticulous; meets deadlines, worries about not finishing tasks. Not good at delegation.


Coordinator: Not always the brightest, but self-assured; a good administrator and Organizer. Often chairs meetings.


Implementer: Steady and efficient; makes things happen. Good at translating ideas into action. Very well disciplined and well-organized, can get stuck in routines and not that open to change.


Monitor Evaluator: Evaluates options and judges situations well. Good strategic overview. Not charismatic or inspiring. Steady


Plant: Unpredictable, unorthodox, left-field, a creative problem-solver, Poor social skills –at least with ‘average’ people. Low boredom threshold.


Resource investigator: Great at the start of a task. Good communicator motivates and enthuses, outgoing. Soon loses interest and wants to move on to something new.


Shaper: Go-Getter; a fast-moving, dynamic, can-do-person. Pushes, cajoles and forces teams to perform. Edgy, loses temper, shouts and storms out, but will get team through difficult challenges.


Specialist: Not a great team player. An entrepreneurial self-starter with specialist skills or knowledge.


Team worker: The glue that binds the team together; arbitrates, diffuses tension, sympathizes, listens, creates cohesion, socially perceptive and intuitive. Not a leader, a great decision-maker or one for quick action.

(Ref: “Personal Best,” Marc Woods, Wiley India)


A leader understands the nature of the members of the team and uses their talents appropriately in order to maximize their output and bring greater synergy in the function of the team.

Belbin viewed the team as an entity made up of individuals, where the success of the team depends on the individual elements carrying out their roles successfully.


The recent approaches, however, look upon the team as a holistic unit and effective use of the collective competencies of all the members. It believes in developing a shared vision towards the goal and synergy in the performance of the members of the team


Nevertheless, it is important that a leader should know the individual competencies of the learner so that he can place the competencies in context in the common mission for better productivity. Plato once said: Never discourage anyone…..who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.


Have you tried to understand the individual competencies of your team members? Have you worked on any strategy for bringing the collective competencies of the members of your team to the surface so that you can use them appropriately? If not, please do spend time on this count so that you can maximize the productivity of your team.

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