Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors
Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors

Behaviour vs. Personality

An increasingly large number of organisations of all sizes are employing testing (aptitude and suitability testing) to help make decisions about individuals within their organisations. The benefits of introducing testing into the workplace (whether in the context of recruitment, or for the purposes of ongoing personal and team development) include:

• Providing an external, objective perspective of an individual, which is not biased by the view of an individual (such as a line manager) or by the organizational culture.

• Helping individuals to find out about themselves by showing them in a different light. The provision of tailored information allows individuals to manage their career advancement and set targets based on their performance.

• Analysing fit between individuals and jobs, so that proper skills and training needs can be identified.

• Establishing teams of individuals who work harmoniously and fruitfully together.

So what type of test would be advisable for your organisation?

You need to decide exactly what you, or your organisation, hope to realize from profiling individuals, or a team. What information or advice do you wish to obtain that will help you with the organisation’s recruitment or personal evolution project? How will line directors, HR, trainers or consultants be using the information provided and to what end?

Some psychometric or personality tests render answers which focus on an individual’s score for a series of personality traits. Bear in mind that whilst data involving personality traits may be enlightening for the person concerned, it is not inevitably the most serviceable form of feedback for the organisation. Rather, it may be more advantageous to retrieve realistic advice which is grounded in 360-degree peer reviews and which is orientated towards a work context.

What is a psychometric test?

There are numerous tests that focus on an individual’s personality. Facets such as extroversion/introversion, thinking/feeling are evaluated and are considered relatively fixed. They are founded on an individual’s replies to a range of questions. There is no 360-degree view, so one could say that the outcome is only as good as an individual’s self-knowledge.

The question to ask is whether the result of a psychometric test has a great deal of bearing on the individual’s performance in the workplace? Does it matter than a member of staff can be labelled an extrovert, or is it more useful to see how that staff member contributes in a particular work situation?

At Belbin, we feel that the latter is more useful and thousand of organisations worldwide concur. Of course personality is a component, but it is only one of many that influence an individual’s behaviour. What is a behavioural test?

A behavioural test looks into tendencies towards distinct kinds of behaviour and modes of interaction with others, rather than assessing personality traits. Behaviour is considered as more changeable than personality, since we can accommodate our behaviour depending on what is required of us in a given situation or role.

Behaviour is also observable. This means that it impacts, and is affected by, those around us. This makes the process of understanding and adjusting our actions a democratic one: whilst we wouldn’t require others to tell us about our personalities, we often remark on one another’s behaviour.

Lastly, behavioural tests can offer constructive feedback which directly informs the way an individual acts in the workplace. Personality is unlikely to change, so to dust off the cobwebs and get people and teams working more effectively, we need to focus on the point where changes can be made: our behaviour.

Belbin Team Roles - behaviour or personality?

Belbin is engaged with behaviour: what others in your team see and experience. Whilst this may be influenced by your personality, this is not the only component.

In a nutshell, during the 1970s, Dr Meredith Belbin and his research team at Henley Management College set about observing teams. As the research progressed, the enquiry revealed that the difference between success and failure for a team was not dependent on elements such as intellect, but more on demeanor.

The research team set about to describe distinct clusters of behaviour, each of which formed distinct team contributions or “Team Roles”. A Team Role came to be delineated as:

“A disposition to act, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.”

It was discovered that unique individuals displayed distinct Team Roles to varied degrees.

Moreover, the behaviour adopted may not equate with what others observe. Whereas many psychometric tests rely on self-reporting, the Belbin appraisal uses 360° feedback to give you an accurate idea of how you fit in your team.

How do I find out Team Role preferences?

To find out which of the 9 Belbin Team Roles people have an affinity towards, and which ones they don’t, they need to begin by filling out a Belbin Self-Perception Inventory.

This is a questionnaire that takes about 20 minutes to finish. The grades are interpreted by our e-interplace programme (developed in 1988 and updated ever since). The report is rendered, and transmitted back to you or the individual involved within moments.

So what does the Belbin report offer? – Analysis and discourse of key strengths and advice on how to behave effectively in the workplace founded on the input of individuals and others.