by John Knight

Getting the right team together is tricky and when it’s made up of your business leaders, it can be even more fraught – and more important to get it right. For a team to work well together, it is not enough to get a group of like-minded individuals around a table, as this often leads to ‘group think’. A successful team needs to be made up of a number of different personality types, but everyone needs to be working towards a common vision.

What does a successful team need?

Every successful team needs different types of people to make it work. If everyone around the table is a ‘visionary’, who is actually going to make the vision a reality? In the same way, if no one has the strength of character to lead the team, how will any decisions be made?

According to Meredith Belbin, Team Roles at Work: “The types of behaviour in which people engage are infinite. But the range of useful behaviours, which make an effective contribution to team performance, is finite. These behaviours are grouped into a set number of related clusters, to which the term ‘Team Role’ is applied.”

He identified nine roles as the ideal make up of a successful team. These include the social roles of Resource Investigator, Teamworker and Co-ordinator, the thinking roles of Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist, and the action of task-orientated roles of Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher.

Meanwhile, Myers Briggs identified 16 personality traits, and back in 1928 William Moulton Marston introduced the concept of DISC profiling, focusing on four cardinal points of human behaviour.

While all these researchers approach different personality types from slightly different perspectives, they all agree that you need the right make-up of different people for your team to not only survive but thrive.

What is important is to recognise that people have different qualities. Instead of the leader(s) trying to mould everyone into their own image, they form a group that plays to everyone’s strengths. Not everyone is good at everything, nor should they be. The key is in identifying and then using individual and team strengths, making them more confident, engaged with work, productive and able to build better relationships with colleagues.

What do you do if your team isn’t working?

Don’t panic if you have identified disharmony or ineffectiveness. These challenges can often be addressed if you work with your team to help them understand each other and what they – as a team – are trying to achieve. Sometimes, where there are personality clashes, it helps for people to understand the drivers of the other individuals around a table. A better understanding of each other’s strengths, preferences and needs and the way they work, means that there is more chance of people being able to work successfully together.

Setting a clear direction

Once you have your people working well together, you also need to ensure that they are working towards the same goal. Having a clear strategy and implementation plan ensures that you can play to each person’s strengths, and you all know the direction of travel.

At C.Co we thrive on working with teams to help ensure that they perform at their optimum, helping you meet the challenges of delivering the best service to your customers. To find more about how we can help your team identify their strengths and help to drive up performance, visit