Meditating closed eye businessman in office with arguing colleagues In the first part of this article we looked at four talented but difficult types of employee, (based on the negative aspects of Belbin’s team roles), that you might face and how to handle them. The first 4 of these talented but difficult types of employee were:

  1. The Mad Scientist
  2. Mozart
  3. Clean Hand Luke
  4. Four Weddings

In this article we will look at the next five:

1. Mr. Inflexible: This is the Belbin ‘specialist’ gone wrong, big time. When things are good, the specialist is single-minded, self-starting, dedicated and offers skills and knowledge in rare supply, but when gone bad this type focuses in too narrowly on their subject of their choice to the detriment of other areas. You may struggle to get them to input, show enthusiasm for or deliver in areas outside their specialist area. This can make your team or organization inflexible.

How to Handle: If you can accommodate it in your organization and it is beneficial to overall effectiveness move them into a specialist role or area where they can indulge their specialist tendencies – and you may find they work more efficiently as a result. Alternately, give them time to focus on their specialist area but goal them to deliver projects and outputs outside of their specialism.

2. Butterfly: This is Belbin’s ‘Resource Investigator’ gone wrong. Normally, this type is an asset, e.g they are enthusiastic, outgoing, communicative and they explore and develop contacts who can help the project. The trouble is extreme ‘Butterflies’ may be too transient, lose track of activity and forget to follow up on a lead.

How to Handle: Turn their innate networking activity from a hobby into a vocation (which it really should be) by assigning them measurable goals such as specific resources they need to relocate within a certain time scale. Evaluate the quality/suitability of resources they find and feed that back to them at review time to educate them as to what valuable and effective resource investigation activity is.

3. Win at all Costs: We have all met this type. It is Belbin’s ‘shaper’ gone badly wrong. While the shaper is ordinarily: challenging, dynamic and works well under pressure and they have the drive and courage to overcome obstacles, however, gone wrong they are so driven they can become aggressive and bad humored in their attempts to get things done. They can drive down morale in your team and lower productivity and staff retention.

How to Handle: Build a culture that values not just getting things done but values how it is done. Lead by example and show the ‘win at all costs’ type they are operating outside the culture. Coach them and goal them and bonus them on both productivity and team morale targets.

4. Analysis Paralysis: This is the Belbin ‘Monitor Evaluator’ gone wrong. While they can be a great asset as they are sober, strategic, discerning, they evaluate options and judge accurately,  they can be overly critical and slow moving. They can be prone to analysis paralysis and their excessive decision making processes can lead to unacceptable periods of inactivity.

How to handle. Give them deadlines in which to make decisions. Show them the impact of their drawn out decision making in terms of lost output time, increased time to market, lower service levels, etc. and bonus and reward them on faster effective decision making. If their decision making is mission critical to your business, contemplate assigning a mentor or putting them on a targeted training course on decision making.

5. Super Tanker: This is the Belbin ‘Implementer’ gone wrong. On the one hand they are disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient and they turn ideas into practical actions, but once they get locked into a particular course they are difficult to shift in to a new direction, like a super tanker is.

How to Handle: Focus them in areas where there is limited unpredictability and where long-range strategies are set and generally adhered to. Coach and mentor them on adaptability and over emphasize the benefits of change. Most importantly, give them some time to absorb the change as once the panic and shock has passed they will be more open to the new situation.

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