Implementing, gathering and finishing - Jo Alcock Consulting
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Implementing, gathering and finishing

Implementing, gathering and finishing

Apparently these are the roles I usually take on in a team, according to Belbin anyway. As part of my induction in my new job (which I’m loving by the way!), I completed a questionnaire about the role I play in a team. I was interested to know this anyway, and it’s useful for my colleagues to know. I’m now part of a small team so if anything it’s even more important to know these things about each other so we can work to each other’s strengths and make sure we’re working as an effective team. My results are shown below (the higher scores on the bottom line demonstrate the roles I am most strongly aligned to):

Belbin team roles - my results

Belbin team roles - my results

As you can see, I came out with the most points as an implementer. To give an idea of the role the implementer plays, here’s an explanation from the Mind Tools website (which includes more information about the different roles):

Implementers are the people who get things done. They turn the team’s ideas and concepts into practical actions and plans. They are typically conservative, disciplined people who work systematically and efficiently and are very well organized. These are the people who you can count on to get the job done.

On the downside, Implementers may be inflexible and can be somewhat resistant to change.

Now I know when we get the results of a psychological test like this we have to take it with a pinch of salt, and of course we’re bound to focus on the things we agree with (there was a fascinating section in a book I read recently about how we treat results of these sort of tests), but that aside I do feel that this describes the role I usually take on board.

I certainly like to work systematically, and prefer to have a plan to work to. I’m usually the person who will volunteer to organise these sort of things and I’m a person who lives her life by making lists! I also agree with the downsides of being an implementer – I don’t like it when things go majorly off course and don’t stick to the plan, and I can be resistant to change (particularly in my home life, although not so much in my working life).

There was quite a difference between my score as an implementer and the others, although I also scored relatively highly as a resource investigator (who explores outside opportunities) and a completer-finisher (who ensures thorough, timely completion). I think the latter will ring true with anyone who has worked with me – I’m often the designated proofreader who checks everything is accurate, and I tend to take on an organisation role to make sure things are on track. I can certainly see some of the elements of the resource investigator in my personality too – I’m curious (to the point of being annoying with all my questions!) and like to help negotiate to bring in external contacts and resources. I’m more introverted than extroverted though, and not very outgoing.

As for the roles I probably don’t tend to take on, I scored low points for the role of the shaper (who challenges the team to improve) and the plant (who presents new ideas and approaches). I’m certainly usually the type of person who avoids confrontation, and I won’t usually challenge others or shake things up unless I really think it’s necessary. I’m not a creative innovator either (like the plant); I tend to follow existing practical approaches where possible.

It was an interesting exercise and useful to learn more about myself and ensure I’m aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and the roles I usually play within a team. I am also now aware of the way my new boss tends to work and how we may be able to work together more effectively.

What role do yo usually play? Do you think it’s useful for staff to understand their role within a team?

  • joeyanne
    Posted at 18:01h, 30 August Reply

    New Blog Post: Implementing, gathering and finishing

  • Amanda
    Posted at 19:10h, 30 August Reply

    One of the reasons I decided to study LIS is because I took every test known to man that is suppose to help you find your career niche. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I came out as a librarian. I wasn’t exactly opposed to becoming a librarian, but I knew that I didn’t want to be in a traditional role like cataloging or directly dealing with the public. I’m glad to have found digitalization which is keeping me busy.

    The Strong Interest Inventory listed politics as my greatest interest, which is probably true, so I’m hoping to become a federal librarian in Washington, D.C. next year.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 09:45h, 31 August Reply

      Sounds like you’ve got your plan sorted then! I took one of those online tests whilst I was in my final year at University – it suggested teaching or librarianship for me. I’d already decided against teaching (though I do enjoy teaching) so thought I’d find out more about librarianship. Didn’t even know it was a potential career choice until then!

  • Graham Wilson
    Posted at 05:52h, 31 August Reply


    A great post, as ever.

    As someone who has used the Belbin instrument for a long time, I’d be interested in seeing your results if you did the exercise again in a few weeks time.

    Firstly, I suspect that the way we see ourselves changes more than we realise and when someone is in the early stages of a new job they will not see themselves as they normally do.

    Secondly, my experience of reading your blog makes me suspect that those two scores for PLant and SHaper are seriously low for you. You’ve come across as an explorer of new things. Yes you implement them – but you do so by adapting and moulding them to fit your situation and you then promote them widely. That sounds like shaping behaviour to me.

    Enjoy the new job and keep blogging.

    Best wishes, Graham.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 09:50h, 31 August Reply

      Thanks very much for your comment Graham, you raise an excellent point. I’m very aware that I may view myself in a certain way (probably the way I want to be viewed) which of course would skew results of this sort of test. By nature I’m a very reflective person (as you can probably tell from my blogging!) but I do wonder how accurate my reflections are, so it’s interesting to hear other’s points of view.

      I may well try the same questionnaire in a few weeks time to see if my opinion has changed at all.

  • Jennie
    Posted at 09:53h, 31 August Reply

    I still have the printout from the careers advice computer programme (early days, back in probably 1993/94) that advised me to either become a librarian or a biologist.
    I tried biology, didn’t like it, went with the library thing…and, always a sucker for tests, I’ll go do the Belbin one, not done that since library school.
    Though I have a vague memory of perhaps being a plant. Maybe a Triffid?

    Currently, my team consists of 2 of us, in 2 different cities, meeting maybe once every 4-6 weeks. Communication’s by phone and email mainly, it’s an interesting way to work as a team!

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 15:01h, 31 August Reply

      We have a very similar set up to yours Jennie, and it’s certainly a different way to work. I have to say, it seems to work well here – I just hope I can adapt my way of working to fit into it. Projects such as collaborating with yourself and others for the UK Library Blogs wiki has helped in this actually, it’s amazing how infrequently if at all you need to see people face to face to get things done!

  • FieldVole
    Posted at 14:30h, 31 August Reply

    I absolutely love these kind of tests. I come out as a plant with a high score for team worker.

    Out of interest, do you know your MBTI? It’s to do with personality preferences rather than team roles specifically but I think knowing my MBTI has given me useful insight about how I interact with people at work.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 15:03h, 31 August Reply

      Interesting – maybe it’s a librarian thing to love taking these tests?!

      I have done the MBTI previously, but I can’t remember what I came out as – would love to do it again *adds to to-do list*.

  • Katie
    Posted at 16:30h, 31 August Reply

    I’m a real bore to talk to about psychological tests, as I actually did some training in in them and start harping on about validity and reliability and suchforth until people get upset and go away. The MBTI is my personal bugbear as the science behind it is pretty poor.

    I don’t mind Belbin too much as it doesn’t claim to be a scientific tool, but more a reflective one. Plant was my higher score when I did it. I’m aware that as a forced-choice test, though, it makes you pick which role you prefer without any reference to context. I scored a 0 as a teamworker on Belbin because I don’t prioritise smoothing things over, but it doesn’t mean I can’t focus on relationships when I think I need to! At least, that’s what I’m hoping ;0)

  • Joeyanne Libraryanne » Jo Alcock MSc
    Posted at 18:01h, 09 December Reply

    […] it to take me 5 years to complete, but I’m glad I stuck with it and finished (if you read my earlier blog post about Belbin’s roles you’ll note that I’m a completer-finisher by nature so not finishing things really […]

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