I think there is good resemblance between the Enneagram and Belbin Team Roles .
The Enneagram shows also the linkage (“wings”) between different role groups, which seems also to match my (limited) study of co-workers. For example I think most people (or at least the coders are on the “inner triangle” of 3-6-9 (Achiever, Loyalist, Peacemaker = Implementer, Completer Finisher, Team Worker. Further, the Myers-Briggs personality indicator is also closely related, but somewhat different.
I quickly tried to figure out a draft mapping between the Belbin Team Roles and the Enneagram:
Blue Inner Circle
3 Achiever = Implementer (doing)
6 Loyalist = Completer Finisher? (doing)
9 Peacemaker = Team Worker (social)
5 Investigator = Plant (thinking)
7 Enthusiastic = Resource Investigator? (social)
8 Challenger = Shaper? (leading)
1 Reformer = Monitor Evaluator (thinking)
2 Helper = Coordinator (leading)
4 Individualist = Spacialist (doing)
What I found was that while the Belbin Team Roles gives a quantitative psychometric and good descriptions of the roles, but lacks further analysis and grouping of the arch-typical role groups. I have found that the same roles tend to appear with each other, while Belbin does not suggest this. However, the Enneagram suggests exactly this. For example the role Implementer is usually occurring with Teamworker (high diligence and drive for team cohesiveness), and Plant with Resource Investigator and Shaper (high inclination towards constant change). The Enneagram gives a try to map the groupings, while lacking the quantitative measurement tools and exact weighting of the Belbin’s test. By combining the both you get both quantitative exactness and good overview to guide for example forming of the optimum team structure and how to manage different personalities individually.
I have grouped the team roles in three colors by the inclination towards the change. The blue roles (“inner circle”) are rather indifferent to change or following the opinion leaders, while the black roles are resisting any change. The red roles are the drivers or initiators of the change. However, actually the Enneagram might be giving a better overview of the attitudes towards change having the “red” roles on the left and “black” roles on the right. This would mean that the role 6 (Loyalist/Completer Finisher) on the Inner Circle is actually pro-change, while the role 3 Achiever/Implementer is resisting changes to plans or existing procedures (as described by Belbin).
While my personal role is firmly on the red side (5-7-8), I find the descriptions to match rather well between the Belbin Team Roles, Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram. However, the Enneagram has also the “wing roles” with stress and security (or integration/disintegration) points describing the behaviour under stress or in a relaxed environment. For the role 5 (Investigator/Plant) I find, however, that the points are flipped.
According to the Myerrs-Briggs the 5-7-8 archtype actually thrives under pressure (role 8 Challenger/Shaper), while the Ennegram suggests role 7. Similarly I find that under relaxed situation I rather act like role 7 Enthusiastic/Resource Investigator (rather than 8 Challenger/Shaper) having vice of gluttony rather than forcefulness. Anyhow, although flipped, there seems to be linkage which is very similar to the psychometric results given by the Belbin’s and Briggs-Myers’ tests.
Leading Different Personality Types and Building an Optimal Team
Actually I started to investigate the Enneagram while I was analyzing the motivational factors of different Belbin’s team roles. For example to motivate a Shaper, you need to threaten his goal, or to provocate him. A Resource Investigator looses quickly momentum, unless he is stimulated by constant social interaction of opportunities and ideas. To motivate an Implementer/Team Worker one needs to establish rapport, promote co-operation and common social norms, rituals and procedures. The Enneagram actually gives a very good guidance of the basic fears, desires, vices and temptations of different personality types, giving a good ideas for individual coaching and leadership.
The key is to first map out the role mix of the team by doing the Belbin’s team role test. To build a successful team the role mix should be balanced, with a few considerations. For example the there should be only one person with role 5 (Investigator/Plant), since the Plants have tendency to disagree and fight each other. Also only one Leading role can be dominant, either the role 2 or 8. For a note, the Enneagram shows the Stress & Security points linkage between roles 2 and 8. I’m not sure, but I think this is an erroneous linkage,
since most probably one person can’t have two leading roles, which are conflicting so strongly (please give me an example if you have witnessed this nemesis-role :).
Similarly, I’m not sure if there is a similar schism between roles 1 (Monitor Evaluator) and 7 (Resource Investigator). It might be that this contradiction is not so important since these roles are not competing on the leadership of the team, and the role 1 is lacking drive to inspire others (he has tendency to demotivate at least Resource Investigators by being overly critical, though).
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