Paragons of virtue or the perfusion of good team leadership?

US Women's Soccer Team at 2003 World Cup

When choosing team members to complete tasks in your organization, what kind of people do you look for?

Yes I know Belbin says you should have;

  • One Co-ordinator or Shaper (not both) for leader
  • A Plant to stimulate ideas
  • A Monitor/evaluator to maintain honesty and clarity
  • • One or more Implementer, Team worker, Resource investigator or Completer/finisher to make things happen

So here we have a range of different personality types, let us make a second assumption – they are all technically competent. Now what else do you look for in your teams in real life?

Well, I like people I can count on to get things done; people who will do their share of the work and not find ways to off load it to others. Sound’s boring doesn’t it? But if I have an important project, reliable team members are invaluable.

I like to have people who will speak up and express their thoughts directly, but with respect for other team members.

And I would like them to have enough confidence to tell me, if we are getting something wrong as a team. Of course, I’d like them to have the discretion to tell me that bad news behind closed doors.

But I’d like us all to be able to listen, and to listen actively, as well as speaking up.

What I would give to find active engagement and people willing have ago at something new as well?

How about being able to recognise risk and knowing when to take it?

Of course I want the team to work cooperatively with each other and share the hard times as well as the good. If they can look beyond their own interests to those of the team, then we all win.

Well, have I found these paragons of virtue?

Oh yes, I have. I’ve seen them in action a number of times but not always working for me!

You see so much depends on the leader and the climate the leader creates!

There are many, many people who can do well in teams when they are well led.

They can flower and do things they never dreamed of!

All it takes is someone to create the climate in which they can thrive and someone who can share a vision in which they can believe.

So that means it’s down to you then really doesn’t it? It’s your team but can you turn them into winners?

I’d welcome the comments on what I’ve written above. Do you think I’m being too hard on leaders – have I set the bar too high? Are my expectations unrealistic? I’d love to have your views!

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Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at or ring ++44(0)7867681439