Working as a team within a PR enviroment

1 May

Hello Everyone and welcome back,

I hope by now everyone has become well acquainted with Public Relations through my previous blogs. My aim for this post is to get across the importance of groups within the PR environment whilst incorporating a recent group scenario I have been involved in. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave any comments!

‘Managing PR’ one of my second year course modules required me and my class mates to form two separate groups in order to incorporate what we had learnt throughout the module into work scenarios. The ‘work scenarios’ began with myself and three others joining a group, we became ‘the client- Lincolnshire council, Sexual Health Organisation‘ we were required to create a brief for the other group who were the winning PR agency. The objective of the campaign was to aid the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases spreading within18-25 year olds. Whist we were planning the brief the other group within my seminar class were a client ‘Bandit merchandise‘ who were creating a brief to deliver to us as their winning PR agency. Bandit merchandise, were an online company who were looking for a new PR campaign in order to create a higher demand of their website in order to sell more festival merchandise.

The Team

If you have had the chance to read my third blog you will have had a brief encounter with the delightful theorist, Dr Meredith Belbin. If not, Dr.Meredith Belbin formulated a team role theory ‘The Belbin test’, original I know!  The theory is a personality test which is used for assessing team roles. The theory involves a number of questions which have 8 answers, you are required to place 10 ranking points to the answers which apply to you. At the end a score can be calculated in find out how the Belbin Test rates you.(

 As stated in my third blog I have been identified as a Co-ordinator (Belbin Theory). Key characteristics include:

  • Calm
  • Self Confident
  • Controlled
Whist it was important to understand our own work style it also appeared crucial for us to acknowledge each others results in order to understand who possessed which attributes in order to work well as a team whilst taking advantage of our best skills. This allowed 
us to create a realism with the working environment. Therefore, lets meet the team;

Maddie Walsh

Belbin Results- Shaper & Monitor Evaluator

  • Sober
  • Unemotional
  • Prudent
“Monitor Evaluators are serious-minded, prudent individuals with a built-in immunity from being over-enthusiastic. They are slow deciders who prefer to think things over. Monitor Evaluators are at home when analysing problems and evaluating ideas and suggestions. They are very good at weighing up the pro’s and con’s of options and to outsiders seem dry, boring or even over-critical.”

Joanna Keeton

Belbin Results- Shaper & Co-ordinator

  • Highly Strung
  • Outgoing
  • Dynamic
“Shapers are highly motivated people with a lot of nervous energy and a great need for achievement. Often they seem to be aggressive extroverts with a strong drive. Shapers like to challenge, to lead and to push others into action-and to win. Shapers can handle and even thrive on confrontation. They are excellent at sparking life into a team and are probably the most effective members of a team in guaranteeing positive action.”

Richard Adams

Belbin Results- Plant

  • Individualistic
  • Serious-minded
  • Unorthodox
“Plants are innovators and inventors and can be highly creative. They provide the seeds and ideas from which major developments spring. Usually they prefer to operate by themselves at some distance from other members of the team, using their imagination and often working in an unorthodox way. Plants are independent, clever and original and may be weak in communicating with other people on a different wave-length.”

How does this relate to our group work?

Working as part of this group was enjoyable, simply due to the fact that we all worked well together and contributed equally. The Belbin test helped us to recognise each others attributes so we were able to make best use of them throughout the task.

Before we even had time to think about the task in hand our ‘plant’ Richard had already set up a facebook group as a medium for conversation between the four of us.  True to the Belbin theory of plants, Richard provided the facts surrounding the topic in a detailed breakdown including time frame and what our objectives were to be. This became extremely important to the group as it meant we were all on the same wave length within the project. Although there was regular discussion between the group my role as the Co-ordinator meant I was the one to initiate a group meeting, although I couldn’t make the meeting due to the time I was sent the minutes from Joanna who again stayed true to her Belbin Results by pushing others into an action. 

 The next step was to create a PR brief as the client, Maddie one of our ‘Shapers- Great need for achievement’ saw this through and designed a professional and well thought through brief which included everything discussed within the meeting. I felt throughout the group task that Maddie could have come close to scoring as a Co-ordinator as she was very self motivated but at the same time caused the rest of the group to work to shared goals and would delegate readily. With deadlines drawing near for other work our next meeting did regularly go off track and we found ourselves drifting away from the work. Joanna was the one to bring us back on topic and constantly feed ideas through to the team. Richard was our creative and therefore provided a creative outlook to our general ideas. At the end of the meeting I was the one to delegate tasks and made sure that everyone was clear, I went away and designed a PowerPoint presentation for our pitch to the other group. I did feel out of my comfort zone due to my general worry that I am not a ‘creative’ however we did later go through it as a group which meant we all had our own input.

When it came to delivering the brief, our shaper Joanna with her strong drive lead the presentation and was very happy to answer questions on behalf of the team. It was clear that Joanna feels comfortable when faced with confrontation; she is a very intelligent individual who can handle herself in such environments. Maddie was happy to control the running of the presentation and occasionally answered questions; Maddie is a very driven and well-educated person who always puts 100% into her work making sure she gets the best possible grade. During the presentation Richard was happy to discuss the implementation of our brief; Richard is an intelligent individual who likes to think outside of the box, he constantly strives to be different and unique which inspires me.

So what does this mean?

The objective of this blog was to demonstrate the importance of group work within the PR industry, I hope you can acknowledge that it takes a variety of attributes to ensure that a group task is carried out well and effectively. Working as a group is not only an enjoyable experience but crucial within some work environments. I therefore think employers should consider the Belbin Test for all future employees so they get a good understanding of how they really work within a team environment and where they will fit within their organisation.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post,  please feel free to ask any questions and to leave any comments. 

See you again soon



5 Responses to “Working as a team within a PR enviroment”

  1. radams91 May 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I think the Belbin worked well as an indication but businesses should use multiple tests 🙂
    Well written and easy to read.

    • Angela May 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      I found this an interesting post. I like the idea of introducing Belbin Tests within the work place and well done for working so well with your team; my experience has taught me this is not always the case. Would you say you prefer to work as a team rather than working alone?

      • michomoom May 4, 2011 at 9:30 am #

        Hi Angela,

        Thanks for your comment.

        I wouldn’t necessarily say I prefer to work as a team rather than working by myself. I enjoy them both for different reasons; I enjoy being part of a team, helping others and working with others to a shared goal. However I do like working alone so I can just get on and complete the task in hand. I am a very organised person so I sometimes find working alone easier as I can organise my own time accordingly.


    • michomoom May 4, 2011 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Richard,

      I do agree with your comment that Businesses should use multiple tests. However some businesses do not use any kind of testing and therefore I think Belbin would be a good test to start with as it is easy to both complete and understand.



  2. Joanna May 4, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Yeh I agree with radams, businesses definitely shouldn’t rely on the belbin test alone. Though it provides an interesting basis, and something that I find way more accurate than categorizing by sex, income or age – it is rather limited. For a start it is now over 40 years old, and I’d say society is very different now to how it was so many years ago.

    If interviewers were to combine the belbin test with other tests such as VALS, and potentially some qualitative research like open ended surveys, they’d be able to give people a more accurate categorization without stereotyping them to an individual role.

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