The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile

Organizing Teams for Maximum Effectiveness

The Team Management Wheel is a registered trademark and is reproduced by kind permission of TMS Development International Ltd. (See www.tmsdi.com.)

What's your Team Management Profile?

Good teamwork is fundamentally important in many organizations. All too often, however, team members are chosen simply because they happen to be available for a particular project.

So, have you ever been part of a team of hard-working and talented people, which has failed to achieve its goal? This may have been because people were assigned roles that didn't use their strengths, or because the team didn't have the range of abilities needed.

We're not talking about technical skills here – it's usually easy to make sure that your team includes individuals with the necessary knowledge and experience. But it's harder to make sure the team has people who are good at the more general aspects of work – such as brainstorming, problem solving, decision-making, planning, implementing, and fact-checking. When a team includes members who are good at each of these different roles, it is far more likely to be effective.

If we assume that people tend to be better at doing things that they enjoy, managers need to understand each individual's preferences. They can then bring together a group of people who have the "right" strengths – strengths that complement and balance one another – and they can put people in the best position to use these strengths.

One way to do this is by using the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile, developed by Dr Charles Margerison and Dr Dick McCann.

The Team Management Profile

The Team Management Profile is a psychometric tool (measuring things like aptitude and personality) that has been used in personal and team development for over two decades. The profile consists of 60 questions that explore how an individual at work prefers to:

  • Relate to others.
  • Gather and use information.
  • Make decisions.
  • Organize themselves and others.

From there, a profile is built that highlights a person's role preferences.

Margerison and McCann identified eight role preferences, and developed the Team Management Wheel shown in Figure 1 to describe them.

Figure 1 – The Margerison- McCann Team Management Wheel

The Margerison- McCann Team Management Wheel

The role preferences are as follows:

  • Reporter/Adviser – Enjoys giving and gathering information.
  • Creator/Innovator – Likes to come up with new ideas and different approaches to tasks.
  • Explorer/Promoter – Enjoys exploring possibilities and looking for new opportunities.
  • Assessor/Developer – Prefers analyzing new opportunities and making them work in practice.
  • Thruster/Organizer – Likes to push forward and get results.
  • Concluder/Producer – Prefers to work in a systematic way to produce work outputs.
  • Controller/Inspector – Enjoys focusing on the detailed and controlling aspects of work.
  • Upholder/Maintainer – Likes to uphold standards and values and maintain team excellence.

The "Linker" role, shown in the center of the wheel, involves integrating and coordinating the work of others within the team, and in relation to external interfaces. This role has to be done by everyone, although the team leader has particular responsibility here.

Tip:

These roles are quite similar to Belbin's team roles  , although they're not identical. The fundamental assumption for both is that certain people prefer certain roles, and a well-balanced team has representation from a variety of preference types.

What the Results Show

The Margerison-McCann model assumes that people are more capable and motivated to perform the "Types of Work" that they prefer.

As such, the completed Profile identifies one major role as well as two relates roles for each person. It shows you:

  • Which roles each person prefers to play.
  • Where individuals are most likely to focus their efforts (the report provides a percentage of time that a person is likely to devote to various Types of Work).

The Profile report helps managers understand why people are motivated to do some things and not others. It also gives some insight into each person as both an individual and a team player.

Note:

Margerison and McCann also developed other related tools, such as the Types of Work Profile Questionnaire. This determines which of the eight Types of Work in the Team Management Profile (plus the additional "Linking" type) are critical for the various tasks that the team has to perform. This can be combined with the Team Management Profile to produce a report mapping a person's work preferences to the requirements of the job.

Another tool they developed is the Linking Skills Profile, which evaluates an individual's performance in key competence areas – such as decision making, leadership, listening, communicating, and delegating.

Using the Tool

The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile can be used in various ways.

As a manager, you can use the Profiles to examine whether you've assigned people to the right tasks. The more you match jobs to people's strengths, the better your team and your organization will be. And when you recognize patterns of work preference, it's much easier to assign tasks that people find motivating and rewarding.

This increased understanding of your team members also helps you prepare development plans that will excite your staff. If you demonstrate a high interest in individuals' preferences, that can go a long way toward building a strong work relationship – which leads to higher levels of staff satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

Sharing the Profile results with fellow team members also helps increase overall team understanding and unity. For example, when Jim knows why Sally cares so much about details, and Jim understands that paying attention to detail is a relevant and essential role within the team, it's easier to find ways to get along and work together – even though Jim might be impatient and prefer to get things moving.

Tip:

To learn more about the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile, find out how to become accredited to use the Profile, or arrange for an in-company workshop, visit Team Management Systems Worldwide.

Key Points

Your teams may be highly structured and well established – or they may be informal, ad hoc, and even "virtual." Regardless of the type, it's important to understand team dynamics and measure team effectiveness. Teams are expected to perform well, which means that individual team members must perform their roles well. The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile helps you recognize the roles necessary for your team to operate at its best, and determine which individuals are best for each role.

By matching and balancing team roles and individual preferences, you have a formula for a high-performing team. When people work within their preferences, they're more capable and productive – and, as a result, the team operates more smoothly. The Profile helps you not only create stronger teams, but also develop skills and promote mutual understanding between team members. This makes it much more likely that people will work together effectively, and achieve their objectives.

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Comments (6)
  • weeze wrote Over a month ago
    I really support what this arrticle was getting at, and have experienced it once, at the beginning of my career. At the time I worked for an americal company, and they were pulling together a team for a new product development. Before the project even started the selected team were sent of on a discovery day to find out all sorts of things about ourselves and how we interated as a team.

    It covered team roles (Belbin), how we think (creative, results, people), and a model on how to brainstorm which I use to this day (GISA: Goals, Idea's, STOP, Action), and lots of outdoor actiity to test and build the team, a crash course on FORMING I suppose, so that we could hit the ground running at the first project meeting.

    And it worked
    We understood each other, where the gaps were, allowing other team members to morph to cover those roles. It was a successful project team, a successful launch, and Oh boy, was it the best launch party I have ever been to.

    Weeze
  • Dianna wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Elaine,

    It's always tough to be in the middle of organizational redesign - and this is what this is. It sounds like it's an effort to be more efficient and isn't a reflection of team performance or importance. When reporting structures get unruly or stop working, the best thing to do it sit down and figure out what makes sense. A matrix structure might be exactly what you need.

    Basically in a matrix structure you have multiple reporting relationships. In a traditional workplace this is usually a functional department manager and a manager who specializes in the product, program, or project you are working on. So if you're an advertising coordinator you might report to both the Marketing Manager and a manager of a specific product development group. In this case it makes it more efficient to work on multiple projects because you don't need a marketing manager for each product. You have a marketing function that shares it's specialized expertise across the organization and you also have someone in charge of the separate products/projects so that their unique needs are managed closely.

    Here's the link to our article on organizational design that explores various structures: http://www.mindtools.com/community/php/ ... PPM_95.htm This should give you some more information to use in your investigation of what structure will work best for you.

    Keep us posted!

    Dianna

    Have a look and see
  • epiph wrote Over a month ago
    Hi
    I am part of a team which had a very clear reporting structure and each team member reported to the director. Recently after some restructuring we still report to a new director who has a much larger portfolio and due this we are now also reporting to a manager for some of our needs. There is some concern that this may be perceived as a demotion of the group to the rest of the organization and has shaken the team to its core.
    We have been asked to do some research and investigate into a matrix reporting structure which might work better for our unique needs. Do you know anything about this. I see that you have a matrix feedback tool but I don't think it's the same thing
    Elaine
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Jo!

    Glad you like it - not everybody understands my unique little '-isms'... Quite true that a bunch of talented people won't necessarily make a good team, but if we are able to give each person their unique place according to their unique strengths as referred to in the Margerison-McCann model, then we are cultivating a team that can go places.

    Kind regards
    Yolandé
  • JosieB wrote Over a month ago
    Can I make that a Jo-ism as well?? I LOVE it! It can't be said enough that you have to think carefully about your team formation and not just put a bunch of talented people together and think a successful team will be born. Not being afraid to change the membership is important too. You can't be expected to get it right all the time and until you've seen how people will end up working together, it's a good idea to keep an open mind and be prepared to make changes as required.

    Jo
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Very interesting article... If we can get people to work within their preference they are much happier as well. A while ago I dealt with a very successful client whose management team lacked "Reporter/Adviser" types and "Upholder/Maintainer" types. They were great bunch of highly creative people...who constantly experienced a breakdown in communication! And (like many of my clients) they ended up seeking help because of the communication challenges. Having added a communication coordinator to their team has made a huge difference.

    One of my Yolandé-isms is: "If part of a whole is missing there is a hole. If there is a hole something will go missing." It is especially applicable in terms of teams. If there is a 'hole' some process/procedure/team characteristic will go missing.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Yolandé

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