I’m a Specialist Plant

As part of our staff meeting we had a member of our Learning & Development department come along and take us through a behavioural assessment. The behaviour test was based on Belbin Team inventory, and it shows insights into what your preferred roles and least preferred roles are.

I have always been a cynic of these tests. They ask a few general questions which you could easily answer any different way. And then they provide a result which somehow magically describes all parts of your being. I’m smarter than that. I cannot be pidgeon-holed into a category, these tests miss so many considerations.

But the problem is, each time I do these tests they come back with the same result. The same pretty accurate result. I always come out of them thinking they have captured me pretty well.

The Belbin test identifies 10 Team Roles, which you are classified to – according to the statements that you relate most to.

The test found that I had two Team Roles I favour. One was the Plant role. Its typical profile is creative, unorthodox, serious minded, individualistic. It has some positive contributions of Genius, imaginative, intellectual, knowledgeable. They’re good at solving problems and generating ideas. However, they’re inclined to ignore practical details or protocol. A preference to break the rules came through in another test I did at the time of my Emirates interview – which initially concerned the organisational psychologist, but then he believed it could actually be a positive contribution at times. Another “allowable weakness” is they may be too pre-occupied to communicate effectively.

My other preferred team role was the Specialist. They’re typically Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated to their own field. An alleged positive is they provide knowledge and skills in rare supply. But their issue is they may only contribute on a narrow front, and can dwell on technicalities.

The test also provides insight into what your least favoured role is. My least favoured – unfortunately – the Implementer. These are conservative, disciplined, reliable, efficient and predictable. It’s a concern if I look at the antonyms of these words, as describing myself. Positives of this role are organising ability, practical common sense, hard working, self-disciplined. They turn ideas into practical actions. I guess it shows a disconnect with having a profile allegedly capable of Planting ideas.

In other behavioural tests I’ve done, this result was there also. I do see it as a weakness at times, but feel I use some good tools to help manage this. So while I may answer in ways that show I think I have better ideas than being practical, I feel I am usually on top of the tasks I must implement. But perhaps I think other people are better positioned to do it. Or more of a concern, maybe I think it’s somebody else’s job. I have ideas, but can’t bring myself to do the actual work to get them in.

When I first saw this trait coming in these tests, I promised to fix it. But it’s still coming up again four years later. Maybe it’s the same as being an alcoholic. Before you can resolve the problem, you first must admit you have a problem.