Just to Share a Little about TB

I teach teambuilding (TB) for Diklat Prajabatan, and I’d like to share the theories of TB I’ve browsed from several sources.

I. From the Henley Management Centre

The theory is developed by analysing what made teams successful during a series of management games. During this analysis, nine team roles were identified.In the combination of all nine roles, however, generally two or three will be more prominent. These nine roles can be broken down into three categories as follows:


– Plant, Specialist and Monitor Evaluator


– Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher


– Coordinator, Teamworker and Resource Investigator

II. From The Nine Belbin Team Roles

There are nine team roles, i.e.

1. Plant
Creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Solves difficult problems. However tends to ignore incidentals and be too immersed to communicate effectively.

2. Resource Investigator
Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities and networks with others. However can be over optimistic and loses interest after initial enthusiasm has waned.

3. Co-ordinator
Belbin’s Co-ordinator is a mature, confident and a natural chairperson. Clarifies goals, promotes decision-making and delegates effectively. However can be seen as manipulative and controlling. Can over delegate by off loading personal work.

4. Shaper
Challenging, dynamic, thrives under pressure. Jumps hurdles using determination and courage. However can be easily provoked and ignorant of the feelings of others.

5. Monitor Evaluator
Even tempered, strategic and discerning. Sees all the options and judges accurately. However can lack drive and lack inspired leadership qualities.

6. Team Worker
Co-operative, relationship focused, sensitive and diplomatic. Belbin described the Team Worker as a good listener who builds relationships and who dislikes confrontation. However can be indecisive in a crisis.

7. Implementer
Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Acts on ideas. However can be inflexible and slow to see new opportunities.

8. Completer-Finisher
Conscientious and anxious to get the job done. An eye for detail, good at searching out the errors. Finishes and delivers on time however can be a worrier and reluctant to delegate.

9. Specialist
Single minded self starter. Dedicated and provides specialist knowledge. The rarer the supplier of this knowledge, said Belbin, the more dedicated the specialist. However can be stuck in their niche with little interest in the world outside it and dwell on technicalities.

III. From Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow postulates the hierarchy of needs theory.

Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) was an American psychologist and behavioural scientist who also spent some of his career working in industry.

His book, Motivation and Personality, was published in 1954 and his theory has become an important part of the study of workplace motivation.

Maslow saw human needs as a hierarchy which was represented as a triangle for ease of understanding. The first need, Survival, is placed at the bottom.

Maslow surmised that people could not commit to moving on to the next need until the previous need was fully attained.

Once the needs were attained they would cease to be a motivator, so motivated people would start to look to the next need in order to satisfy themselves.

If a manager can see where an employee is in the hierarchy then they will understand how best to motivate that individual.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a useful tool to consider the nature of motivation. In Twyla Dell’s book How to Motivate People (Kogan Page 1988) she matched ten work linked qualities to Maslow’s work to help readers to link the theory to more familiar concepts:

  • Survival
    Efficient managers
    Employees who think for themselves
  • Security
    See end result of work
    Interesting work
  • Belonging
    Be listened to
    Be informed
  • Prestige
  • Self-Fulfilment
    Skill development

IV. From John Adair

John Adair (b.1934) is one of Britain’s foremost authorities on leadership in organisations.

Before Adair and arguably still today people associated leadership with the so called ‘Great Man Theory’.

One charismatic individual who used his or her personal power and rhetoric to mobilise a group.

Adair approached leadership from a more practical and simple angle; by describing what leaders have to do and the actions they need to take.

His model was figuratively based on three overlapping circles representing:-

  1. Achieve the task.
  2. Build and maintain the team.
  3. Develop the individual.

This creates a clear distinction between leadership and management.

Creating charismatic ‘Great Man’ leaders is difficult and cannot be relied on.

You cannot guarantee that such a person can be developed and, once developed, that they will be reliable.

Adair’s theory is more practical and shows that leadership can be taught and that it is a transferable skill.

The three circles in Adair’s model overlap because:-

  1. The task needs a team because one person alone cannot accomplish it.
  2. If the team needs are not met the task will suffer and the individuals will not be satisfied.
  3. If the individual needs are not met the team will suffer and performance of the task will be impaired.

Leadership Functions

Adair lists eight Leadership Functions required to achieve success.

These need to be constantly developed and honed to ensure success.

  1. Defining the task: Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Constrained) to set a clear objective.
  2. Planning: An open minded, positive and creative search for alternatives. Contingencies should be planned for and plans should be tested.
  3. Briefing: Team briefings by the leader are a basic function and essential in order to create the right atmosphere, foster teamwork and motivate each individual.
  4. Controlling: Leaders need self-control, good control systems in place and effective delegation and monitoring skills in order to get maximum results from minimum resources.
  5. Evaluating: Assess consequences, evaluate performance, appraise and train individuals.
  6. Motivating: Adair identifies eight basic rules for motivating people* in his book Effective Motivation (Guildford: Talbot Adair Press, 1987). Adair also created the 50:50 rule which states that 50% of motivation comes from within a person and 50% from his or her environment and particularly the leadership they encounter.
  7. Organising: Good leaders need to be able to organise themselves, their team and their organisation.
  8. Setting an example: The best leaders naturally set a good example. If effort needs to be made it will slip and a bad example is noticed more than a good example.

Motivating Your Team

The eight rules for motivating people:-

  1. Be motivated yourself.
  2. Select motivated people.
  3. Treat each person as an individual.
  4. Set realistic but challenging targets.
  5. Understand that progress itself motivates.
  6. Create a motivating environment.
  7. Provide relevant rewards.
  8. Recognise success.

John Adair’s work is in line with motivational theorists such as Maslow, McGregor and Herzberg.

He emphasises the need for development of the team and team building.

This can be achieved through team building events and using theories such as that of Belbin.

Where Adair identifies the need, Belbin provides one of the tools.

V. From MBTI

The MBTI was developed by Isabel Briggs-Myers (1897 – 1979) and her mother Katherine Cook-Briggs. It is based on the work of Carl Jung and particularly his book Psychological Types. Essentially within the MBTI there are 16 types and a survey will tell individuals which type they are most like.

In a team building setting the objective of experiencing the MBTI might be: ‘to raise awareness and increase understanding of yourself and others in your team and to value the differences between you.

In MBTI there are four polar extremes with a description at each end. These are:-

  • Extrovert to Introvert (E to I)
  • Sensation to Intuition (S to N)
  • Thinking to Feeling (T to F)
  • Judging to Perceiving (J to P)

In completing the Myers Briggs Type Indicator a participant will end up with a score between the two polar extremes that will define their preference.

A person will have a tendency to be either an Extrovert or an Introvert but cannot be both.

At the end of the survey each participant will have a profile, for example ESTJ if the preferences are those on the left of the above list.

Thus there are a total of 16 different end profiles.

The following are pointers to the behaviours associated with the four Myers Briggs functions relevant to team building and communication.

There is much more to each of the functions than is covered here, indeed whole books have been written about the differences between introverts and extroverts.

The following are the short descriptions the four functions:.

Extroverts & Introverts

Extroverts do not know what they are thinking until they say it.

As they speak things become clearer to them, so they may change direction as they speak.

Introverts, on the other hand, need to think things through.

If immediate discussion is thrust open them they become uncomfortable and confused, as they need to go away and consider.

Sensors & Intuititives

Sensors use specifics such as facts, dates and times.

Problem definition is important and they are irritated by vagueness.

Intuitives see specifics as limiting and look at the big picture.

They may agree with specific details presented by an ‘S’ but can only understand the ‘whole’.

Thinkers & Feelers

Thinkers will set their emotions to one side so that their feelings will not enter into the logical analysis of a situation.

They will not make an immediate decision, preferring to step back from a situation to analyse facts and information.

Feelers are ‘people people’ and judge situations on a personal level taking into account personal values.

‘Fs’ are often torn because they are able to see both sides of any situation.

Judgers & Perceivers

Judgers favour exactness.

They want to know how long things will take, stay on track and they seek closure.

They will make an appointment for 4.30 and arrive at 4.29.

Perceivers will put off the final decision for as long as possible.

They favour tolerance and open time frames.


People polarise towards these preferences in varying degrees.

In some people the preference is so small as to barely influence their behaviour.

In others it is so strong that it is defines their approach to life.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator shows this and helps people to understand themselves and the others within their team.

The interaction between the Myers Briggs types will shortly be covered on this website; for example how ‘Es’ see ‘Is’ and vice versa.

Descriptions of the 16 types will also be added; for example ESTJ, INFP, ESFP etc.

VI. From The Strength Deployment Inventory

The following article on Strength Deployment Inventory®, or SDI®, has been contributed by team building facilitator PJ Stevens who specialises in delivering this programme. Dr Elias Porter originally created the concept in the 1960s.

The session is a highly practical mix of brief presentations, experiential learning, change, and empowerment. It is skills focused and will leave the participants with real understanding, proven techniques and appreciation of rewarding relationships.

Being skilled in relationships is fundamental to business success and impacts directly on productivity, morale and bottom line.

How Strength Deployment Inventory® is delivered

By enabling participants to:

  • Make the link between relationship skills and business success
  • Capitalize on the diversity of styles in the work place
  • Communicate effectively
  • Reduce stress and conflict at work

Key Concepts

  1. People are our/your working Environment
    Discover how vital relationship skills are to business success
    The cost of neglecting your people
    Create a high performance environment
  2. Understand People
    Why people behave as they do
    The seven motivational styles
    Discover your own personal drivers
  3. Recognise Different Styles
    What can you learn from body language, hobbies, pets and work place?
    Predict how others will behave
    Understand insecurity, self-doubt and de-motivation
  4. Create Rapport
    Match the other’s style
    Behaviours that bring dramatic results
    Practical tips to get along with difficult people
  5. Handle Conflict
    Understand why people can be difficult
    Discover your behaviour pattern in conflict
    Recognize individual needs in conflict
    How to deal with the angry customer/team member
    The secrets of lasting agreement
  6. Manage your impression
    How does your style of working come across to others?
    Some practical ways to close the perception gap
    Actively manage your impression for better results
  7. Feedback not biteback
    Practical things to do when there are conflict and perception gaps
    Feedback v criticism
    Develop competency in giving and receiving feedback
  8. Influence with integrity
    Discover your current persuasion strategy
    Learn five key processes of influence
    Beware of fishing with vindaloo chicken
  9. Organizational implications
    Communicate organisational change and get commitment
    Easy steps to improve motivation and job satisfaction
    Become a facilitative leader and empower your team
  10. Application
    Implications in your professional life
    Implications in your personal life
    Decide action agenda

VII. Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor (1906 -1964) was a lecturer at Harvard University and became the first Sloan Fellows Professor at MIT. His Theory X and Theory Y was detailed in The Human Side of Enterprise, published in 1960.

Essentially Theory X and Theory Y describe two opposing views of people at work that will influence management style. Managers can be said to follow either view of their workforce.

Theory X is often said to describe a traditional view of direction and control.

Theory Y implies a more self directed workforce that takes an interest in the goals of their organisation and integrates some of their own goals into these.

Theory X

Theory X assumes that: –

  • The average person dislikes work and will avoid it unless directly supervised.
  • Employees must be coerced, controlled and directed to ensure that organisational objectives are met.
  • The threat of punishment must exist within an organisation.
  • In fact people prefer to be managed in this way so that they avoid responsibility.
  • Theory X assumes that people are relatively unambitious and their prime driving force is the desire for security.

Theory Y

Theory Y effectively takes the opposite extreme.

It assumes that: –

  • Employees are ambitious, keen to accept greater responsibility and exercise both self-control and direction.
  • Employees will, in the right conditions, work toward organisational objectives and that commitment will in itself be a reward for so doing.
  • Employees will exercise their imagination and creativity in their jobs if given the chance and this will give an opportunity for greater productivity.
  • Theory Y assumes that the average human being will, under the right conditions, not only accept responsibility but also seek more.
  • Lack of ambition and the qualities of Theory X are not inherent human characteristics but learned in working environments that suffocate or do not promote Theory Y behaviours.

Links with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow viewed John McGregor as a mentor and was a supporter of his theory and each utilised each other’s theories in their own work.

McGregor grouped Maslow’s hierarchy into ‘lower order’ Theory X needs and ‘higher order’ Theory Y needs, suggesting that those behaviours at the top of his hierarchy linked with Theory Y behaviours.

Criticism of Theory X / Theory Y

Nowadays McGregor’s theory is seen as outdated, representing two extremes.

Theory X is perhaps visible in low paid or menial work but employees in those situations will move on in search of positions with Theory Y conditions if they are motivated.

Personal development, management training and even general perceptions of behaviour are against a Theory X outlook towards work.

There is no doubt that this outlook would have been more prevalent in the 1960s when McGregor created his theory.

Before he died McGregor started working on a new Theory that he called Theory Z to address these criticisms.

Unfortunately he died before this could be widely published and the ideas have since faded from mainstream management theory.

They were, however, landmark ideas at their time and now form an important part of the historical study of management theory.

VIII. From The Social Identity Theory

The Social identity approach is in stark contrast to individualistic theories such as Belbin’s team role theory. Primarily established by Henri Tajfel and his colleagues in the early 1970’s this theory asserts that we must do more than study the psychology of individuals as individuals, but must understand how, when and why individuals define themselves in terms of their group memberships and how these memberships as a consequence effect the behaviour of employees within organizations.

The Theory

This theory is based on the now famous minimal group studies.

Tajfel found that even when individuals were grouped in terms of the most trivial of criteria (e.g. their preference for abstract painters) group members displayed in-group favouritism, by awarding more points to in-group members.

Individuals were found to display this bias even when by doing so they reduced their own individual economic gain.

From these studies Tajfel concluded that this process of categorizing oneself as a group member gives an individual’s behaviour a distinct meaning, creating a positively valued social identity.

This group identity then becomes an integral aspect of an individual’s sense of ‘who they are’.

As a consequence of this new found identity individuals want to see ‘us’ as different from and better than ‘them’ and hence display in-group favouritism in order to enhance self-esteem.

However, the social identity theory does not disregard the impact of individual differences completely.

Tajfel asserted that behaviour can be represented in terms of a bipolar continuum.

At the interpersonal pole behaviour is determined by the character and motivations of the individual as an individual and at the opposite, inter-group pole behaviour is determined by an individual’s group memberships.

Where individuals place themselves on this continuum depends on interplay between social and psychological factors.

Social and Psychological Factors

The psychological factors depend on individual’s belief structures, which are determined by the relevant social structure.

In this way, an individual will display interpersonal behaviour if they hold social mobility beliefs in that they perceive the boundaries between groups within their organizations (e.g., between those of low and high status) as permeable.

If however the boundaries are perceived as impermeable individuals will display inter-group behaviour hence relying on social change beliefs.

For example if a woman perceives the boundaries between men and women in her organization as permeable, she may try and advance within the organization disassociating from her gender in-group and pursuing her own individual goals.

In this case she is utilising social mobility beliefs, her behaviour is positioned at the interpersonal pole of the continuum and she identifies herself in terms of her individual differences.

However if she perceives the group boundaries as impermeable she is unable to better herself through moving between groups and hence relies on creating a positive social identity for ‘women’ in general perhaps fighting for equality.

Therefore her behaviour lies at the inter-group pole; she is relying on social change beliefs and is identifying with the social identity she shares with other women.


The extent to which individuals define themselves as individuals or as group members depends heavily on the politics inherent within their organizational culture.

An individual’s behaviour and teamwork cannot be predicted solely from their idiosyncratic characteristics but is also dependant on the social context which determines the belief structures they utilize.

This summary is extremely brief and does not do justice to the complexity of this theory which comprises of an additional approach known as the self categorization theory.

The social identity theory has been applied to every aspect of organizational psychology and is supported by both archival and experimental research.

IX. From Tuckman’s FSNP

This model was first developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. It is one of the best known team development theories and has formed the basis of many further ideas since its conception.

Tuckman’s theory focuses on the way in which a team tackles a task from the initial formation of the team through to the completion of the project. Tuckman later added a fifth phase; Adjourning and Transforming to cover the finishing of a task.

Tuckman’s theory is particularly relevant to team building challenges as the phases are relevant to the completion of any task undertaken by a team.

One of the very useful aspects of team building challenges contained within a short period of time is that teams have an opportunity to observe their behaviour within a measurable time frame.

Often teams are involved in projects at work lasting for months or years and it can be difficult to understand experiences in the context of a completed task.


The team is assembled and the task is allocated. Team members tend to behave independently and although goodwill may exist they do not know each other well enough to unconditionally trust one another. Time is spent planning, collecting information and bonding.


The team starts to address the task suggesting ideas. Different ideas may compete for ascendancy and if badly managed this phase can be very destructive for the team. Relationships between team members will be made or broken in this phase and some may never recover. In extreme cases the team can become stuck in the Storming phase.

If a team is too focused on consensus they may decide on a plan which is less effective in completing the task for the sake of the team. This carries its own set of problems. It is essential that a team has strong facilitative leadership in this phase.


As the team moves out of the Storming phase they will enter the Norming phase. This tends to be a move towards harmonious working practices with teams agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate.

In the ideal situation teams begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the vital contribution of each member to the team. Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility.

The risk during the Norming stage is that the team becomes complacent and loses either their creative edge or the drive that brought them to this phase.


Not all teams make it to the Performing phase, which is essentially an era of high performance. Performing teams are identified by high levels if independence, motivation, knowledge and competence. Decision making is collaborative and dissent is expected and encouraged as there will be a high level of respect in the communication between team members.

Adjourning & Transforming

This is the final phase added by Tuckman to cover the end of the project and the break up of the team. Some call this phase Mourning, although this is a rather depressing way of looking at the situation.

More enlightened managers have called Progressive Resources in to organise a celebratory event at the end of a project and members of such a team will undoubtedly leave the project with fond memories of their experience.

It should be noted that a team can return to any phase within the model if they experience a change, for example a review of their project or goals or a change in members of a team.

In a successful team when a member leaves or a new member joins the team will revert to the Forming stage, but it may last for a very short time as the new team member is brought into the fold.

X. The Color Works

The Colour Works uses a psychological model of behaviours that helps teams to understand similarities and differences in order to become more effective. It is all made up of 4 distinct colour energies of behaviour, each of which have distinct characteristics.

The Colour Works model is devised by Insights Learning & Development, is designed to measure your own personal levels of each, providing a unique personal colour profile.

The Format


The first stage requires delegates to complete a thought-provoking 20 minute online questionnaire.

The Colour Works uses a colourful model of human behaviours devised in 1988 by Insights Learning & Development. It is the strictest adherent to Carl Jung’s work on Psychological Types of all personality profiling systems.

The system’s beauty lies in its accessibility, memorability and hence applicability – after even a half-day workshop, lessons learned (how to adapt your style to build more effective relationships with those who are ‘not like you’) can easily be put into practice.

The language of colour also becomes a powerful, shared tool for colleagues to use to improve their understanding of differences.

The Online Questionnaire

A 25-frame online evaluator (taking just 20 minutes to complete) measures our preferences for the use of all 4 colour energies.

We will all have a dominant, a secondary, a tertiary and a least preferred energy.

This detailed questionnaire is designed to measure these levels as it uses a sliding scale of responses rather than a simple YES or NO.

The resulting profile is comprehensive – a minimum of 24 pages covering amongst other things strengths, weaknesses, stress points, blind spots, management style, preferred environment, communication needs, value to the team – often scarily insightful and unique to the profilee.

Colour Works Theory

The energies are underpinned by Jung’s psychological preferences – introversion to extraversion, feeling to thinking and sensing to intuition (judging to perceiving was a preference identified by Isabel Briggs-Myers but not included in Jung’s original work) – and you are not labelled as being one or the other.

For example, an even preference for ‘fiery red’ and ‘cool blue’ energy would probably indicate a preference neither for introversion nor extraversion but right between the two.

The Colour Works Wheel

The order and intensity of your colour preferences places you on a 72-type wheel, made up of 8 archetypes, as follows:

the colourworks 2nd wheel

each with its own attributes, style, needs and frustrations.

The rest of your team can be plotted on the same wheel, allowing possible gaps in performance and difficult relationships to be understood and worked on.


Has the ability to focus on results. They decide what it is they want from life and set a strategy to achieve it. Their natural assertiveness means they will push both themselves and others to achieve goals. They are not put off by setbacks.


Has enormous enthusiasm that he spreads to those around them. Their drive to succeed gives them a high level of motivation to achieve their dreams. They are not easily put off and find it easy to think positively about every situation.


Has well-developed people skills and has a constant need to enjoy interactions with others. They are persuasive and their quick minds produce creative solutions to others’ problems.


Has a genuine desire to help others and put their needs first. This makes them flexible and adaptable with a natural ability to share ideas and knowledge.


Has a true team approach. Their expert listening skills can uncover others’ true needs and they are loyal to both their colleagues and their organisation.


Can pull all the loose ends together to organise themselves and others in a structured approach. Their planning and time management skills make them thorough and reliable.


Can write the book on product knowledge required for their job. When others need the facts to make a decision, they know them. They set the standards for others and analyse and collect the data.


Has a natural desire to monitor and judge performance. Their own approach is disciplined and logical and they back this up with a determination to succeed.

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