Leadership Treasure Discovery… the Belbin way!

A Belbin workshop being conducted at Millfield School (U.K.)

One of the most exciting and fascinating discovery expeditions we will ever be on is the discovery of ourselves. Getting to know ourselves better, realizing what we are good at, the talents we are blessed with and the impact we can create truly is interesting and life-giving!

Erik Erikson was a German-American developmental psychologist known for his theory on psycho-social development of human beings. He speaks of how at different stages of life we are on an exploration. He says how we engage with life experiences helps us build trust, autonomy, initiative and intimacy — all helping us to build a strong sense of identity and purpose that then allows us to live fully and contribute to society.

Ages 12-18 are particularly interesting as Erikson says this is the time when we begin to ask questions like ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I want to do with my life?’. This is the time when we try on different ‘selves’ in a way to see which one fits. It’s the time when we are truly making our first conscious journey to knowing ourselves and all the treasures that we maybe gifted with.

(from l to r) Pearl D’Souza, Director, PrePearl Training Development Pvt Ltd, Dr Meredith Belbin and Leslie D’Souza, Chairman & Managing Director, PrePearl Training Development Pvt Ltd.

In the U.K. in the 1960’s, well-known researcher and management consultant, Dr Meredith Belbin, sought to study group and individual behaviours. Dr Belbin was able to identify different clusters of behaviours that are important for success of teams and projects. These clusters of behaviours came to be called ‘team roles’ or behavioural talents. For example, one cluster of behaviour referred to the ability to come up with ideas, another to the ability to focus on details, still another to the ability to be sensitive to people’s needs and feelings. Dr Belbin’s research showed that each one of us is gifted with two to three team roles or behavioural talents that we are very good in. There are some we find stressful but can do a decent job of leveraging them, and there are some behavioural talents that each of us are just not great at. Knowing our strengths truly helps us realize how we can make a unique contribution wherever we go.

Discovering one’s behavioural talents is one of the most fascinating, empowering and energizing journeys that one can embark on. While Dr Belbin is today known as the ‘Father of Team Roles’ and the Belbin philosophy is used widely in organizations across the globe, the team roles and behavioural talents begin to show during our teenage years and this knowledge can be very valuable.

Experiences during high school, college and university help us on our discovery journey of getting to know ourselves. The Belbin team roles therefore prove to be a deeply researched and fascinating guide on what Erikson possibly describes as the ‘quest of finding one’s identity’ when one is a young adult.

A Belbin workshop at a school in the U.K.

But how can the two merge? That’s where The Leadership Treasure Discovery session comes in. PrePearl Training, the India representatives for Belbin UK, had been looking at bringing the session to India and when we shared with THE TEENAGER TODAY what the session encompasses, we were so happy that the editorial team agreed that it would be very valuable for young adults and decided to partner with PrePearl in conducting sessions across the country.

The one-day discovery session is designed exclusively for young adults in the age group of 14-21 years. Each participant gets to complete their Belbin Getset profile wherein they also get to take inputs from their parents, guardians, mentors/teachers and friends as to what they see as the individual’s strengths. The workshop is designed to help participants begin the journey of discovering their strengths, and in doing so develop a strong sense of self and thus build confidence in one’s ability and potential.

A crucial and important part of the session is participants creating their own Statement of Purpose. The insights from the Belbin reports and their own reflection during the day, helps them articulate how they want to impact society and how they want to make a difference.

With this, the ability to prepare oneself for interviews — whether school, college or work — becomes interesting and even exciting. The session helps participants become aware of their strengths as a person and also enables them to identify unique aspects they would like to share at interviews.

Being a young adult is one of the most exciting and complex times — one is building one’s independence and yet not fully independent — both parents and teenagers try to find the ideal balance. Invited to be part of the second half of the session, parents now become part of the process and get an understanding of what their young adult has discovered during the day. An energising dialogue is facilitated between the parent/guardian and the student.

How this links to life skills and success in careers

With the onslaught of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and automation, the future of work poses its own challenges and opportunities. Technology is actively reshaping the skills that will be in demand. The technical and hard skills will keep changing but what seems to be constant is the soft skills of ‘leadership, collaboration, adaptability, resilience, creativity, managing time’.

“The abilities to read social situations and develop productive relationships are, for the foreseeable future, uniquely human skills, and will become increasingly important and valuable in an automation economy.”
— gettingsmart.com

The World Bank Report 2019 on ‘The Changing Nature of Work’ states that the three qualities that will define employability are: complex problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability.

The need of the hour truly then is for an opportunity for young adults to begin their discovery journey, to help hone soft skills, to discover their behavioural talents and strengthen them, to understand the ‘technique of teamwork’ and the essence of effective collaboration. What is really important for society and the world at large to also realize today is that appreciation of differences is the most important step to effective communication.

The Leadership Treasure Discovery session opens the doors to appreciating differences. It begins the journey of enabling youth discover their strengths and build the life-skills to succeed in the present and in the future.

Director at PrePearl Training Development Pvt Ltd. >> More articles

Pearl D’Souza McKenzie is a Management Consultant and Director at PrePearl Training Development Pvt Ltd. Her forte lies in the area of maximizing potential at an individual and team level.

Pearl D'Souza McKenzie

Pearl D’Souza McKenzie is a Management Consultant and Director at PrePearl Training Development Pvt Ltd. Her forte lies in the area of maximizing potential at an individual and team level.