This is my third post about my return to university and how it relates to my mental health. This one covers team roles and anxiety. My last one covered education and creativity and you can read it here.
Before going into day 3, we had to complete the Belbin quiz. This quiz is supposed to identify where you fit within a team. Here’s how I scored:
After I took this, I got Zoe to take a free version online too. What was most interesting was that she fit the traits that I need to work with to be most effective. The report suggested I would work best with a practical organiser. Zoe prioritises the practicalities of ideas, while I will prioritise coming up with ideas and consider the practicalities later. It was interesting to see how Belbin reflected what we already knew – we complement each other well in the way that we work.
My feedback mentioned that I might struggle to present myself well – perhaps due to shyness, lack of self-confidence, or a reluctance to offend others. I do think this is an area I have struggled with historically due to anxiety. While I have become better at expressing and advocating for my ideas, I am reluctant to offend or upset other people, and if I think I’ve been forceful about an idea I’m passionate about I will often stress about that later.
I also think it can be difficult to present ideas in a way that other people understand. Some people are exceptionally good at presenting ideas and selling them, and I think I lack in this area. The vision I see in my own head often doesn’t come across to others. I have really enjoyed the prototyping aspect of this course and using it as a way to bring ideas to life.
We learned about the De Bono thinking hats, and I really like this as a way to think about things. The idea behind this is that there are six hats, and that when considering an idea everyone wears the same hat at the same time. In other words, everyone considers an idea from the same perspective at the same time. I think this is a great technique for discussion and also for reducing conflict. If one person is expressing the positives while another is talking about the negatives, it may cause conflict. When everyone is on the same page at the same time, it allows for a much more productive discussion.
I found it interesting when we used this to discuss the idea of banning all energy drinks. Initially most of the team were for this. After using the hats however, everyone was against the idea of banning and in favour of using other solutions such as education.
In the water bottle challenge I found I tried to keep the team from drifting off topic. My Belbin results didn’t rate me strongly in this area. I think that’s due to it being a self-assessment quiz. I favour being creative over delegating tasks. When there is a set goal and deadline, I will be much more focussed. I think part of that is related to anxiety, it would stress me out to miss a deadline, or to not have work completed to meet the brief.
We then had the newspaper challenge. I really loved this as a way to find a problem to design a solution for. It involves looking through papers, finding two unrelated articles that identify problems, and then finding a solution that solves them both. I really thought it was amazing to see the ideas that came out of the room that day. There were quite a few potentially viable businesses coming out of a morning or brainstorming from random newspaper articles.
I really liked the idea my team came up with and I think it could be viable. One thing implemented on my team during this exercise was we went around the table and checked what everyone else thought the idea was. This is hugely important – everyone has different perspectives and if the same thing is explained to 6 different people, you often find there are 6 entirely different thoughts on what the thing is. Also, the different perspectives on what the idea is might help to improve upon it. Finally, it’s really important in a team that everyone is on the same page (which is why the De Bono thinking hats are so useful).
If you’d like to discuss this, or any of our other blog posts, you can do so on the forums here.