Inner People and Belbin Roles *

Inner People

In my previous post “Soft Skills in Test Management”, “understand your context” was the first skill mentioned there. Part of this skill is to know your audience. In fact, it is a very important for leaders to know their audience. This is the same for trainers and presenters too.

Different people react in a different way to what goes on during a discussion. Therefore, leaders, trainers and presenters should be able to recognize this and respond to it in the the most appropriate way. Here comes the knowledge of personality types and how much it helps to get the best out of your audience through motivation and how they will interact.

One way to classify personality types is the Six “Inner People” **. Those are:

  1. The Natural Child: Spontaneous – Expresses feelings – Has need for recognition structure and simulation.
  2. The Adult: Logical and reasonable – Deals in facts not feelings.
  3. The Nurturing Parent: Firm with others – Understanding and caring.
  4. The Critical Parent: Uses body language (e.g. pointing the finger and raised voice) to tell others off – Can be sarcastic or threatening.
  5. The Rebellious Child: Easily gets angry – Negative attitude and does not listen.
  6. The Compliant Child: Self blame – Quiet, careful and self protective.

The first three types above are Effective People and the communication with them is constructive and positive. However, the second three ones are Ineffective People who are unhelpful for obtaining information.

Belbin Roles

Belbin noted a tendency for people of a particular type to communicate and cooperate with each other. Therefore, there are nine roles in three groups and recognizing them is a very helpful skill:

  1. People-Oriented Roles: This is the first group and includes the following roles:
    • Coordinator
    • Investigator
    • Team Worker
  2. Action-Oriented Roles: This second group includes:
    • Implementer.
    • Shaper.
    • Completer.
  3. Thinking-Oriented Roles: The last three roles are:
    • Plant.
    • Monitor.
    • Specialist.

More information on Belbin Roles can be found in

All the best…

* “Soft Skills in Test Management” tutorial by Graham Bath.
** “The Transactional Manager” book by Abe Wagner.


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