The Belbin Methodology
The Belbin Methodology uses reliability and validity as two main measures in evaluating tests that aim to show who people are and how they behave.
Reliability is a measure of the internal consistency of a test while Validity is concerned with the strength of the conclusions and inferences drawn.
Team Roles are Built on Clusters of Behaviour
Internal consistency is highest where test items are repeated, but this narrows the focus of the test overall. Rather than repeating questions, or introducing items which are virtually identical, the Belbin algorithm seeks for clusters of related behaviour. For example, the Coordinator cluster refers to an individual who is broad in outlook, willing to delegate, consultative, focussed on getting a team working to a common goal and at times manipulative. However, that does not mean to say that everyone who is consultative is necessarily manipulative or willing to delegate.
The strength of the traits that make up each cluster will vary from person to person but we will recognise the common elements that present as one of the nine Team Roles – a great starting point for self awareness and lifting team contributions.
Building the Full Picture
Many of these types of assessments rely on self-reporting. However, the behaviours identified may not be consistent with what others observe in day to day contact.
The strength of the Belbin algorithm rests in its emphasis on construct validity: using multiple sources of evidence to draw a conclusion that reflect a person’s typical behaviours.
The profiling software works to take account of the degree of consensus on observed behaviour. Disparities between self-analysis and the perceptions of others can provide valuable leads for action.
Formal correlations are, however, difficult to calculate, as Observers are not required to make a set number of responses. The reason for this is that we know that genuine responses are more easily obtained – and more valuable – when forced choices are avoided.
Remember that the Self-Perception and Observer Assessments feature several different behavioural traits for each Team Role. This is not the case in a psychometric test assessing personality, where just single personality traits are measured.
To be a good example of a particular Team Role, an individual has to demonstrate the cluster of positive traits for that role.