Barack Obama's Belbin in Review

April 30, 2009 Max Isaac

The world is watching as Barack Obama prepares to turn the keys of the White House over to President-elect Donald Trump.  Back in 2008, as then-candidate Obama campaigned throughout the United States, 3Circle Partners teamed up with The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, to create a Belbin Team Role Report for him. 

Using the intensive research that Meredith Belbin conducted in the latter half of the 20th Century into what it takes to have a winning team, the report was generated as a combination of an expert panel and the general public weighing in.

Belbin’s model provides a unique framework to evaluate the style, strengths and possible weaknesses.  Belbins’s nine years of research revealed that it is possible to predict the style of management that each candidate is likely to bring to the job of president. 

How’d we do with our 2008 predictions regarding Barack Obama?

(below are excerpts from the Globe and Mail’s report)

Expert Panel Results

Barack Obama’s personal strengths consist of his ability to bring the best out of people. He is a natural communicator and coordinator. He would thrive in an environment such as the Oval Office that would allow him to explore and develop new opportunities. He is innovative, enterprising and broad in outlook. He will tend to surround himself with people who interact without reservation.

His combination of coordination and idea-generation skills has to be carefully managed. He will be good at spotting talent and seeing how different people may best contribute to addressing the complex problems he will face in his new role. However, he may also feel tempted to prescribe most of the ideas himself. For him to operate at his best he would be best advised to make sure he separates these two roles. There may be occasions when it would be a good thing for him to restrict his own contribution until all others have had their say.

Separating when he uses these strengths will be important for him to achieve his full potential. Having advisors well-grounded in the practical will help balance his more charismatic, broad thinking and visionary style.

Interested in the Detailed Expert Report

Public Panel Results

Barack Obama's Belbin Report generated by the public closely mirrors the views of our experts in terms of team role orientation. They both see him as being a natural communicator, broad in outlook, and a good coordinator as well as an ideas person (the two idea generating roles are Plant and Resource Investigator; he shows strength in both of these roles).

The only significant difference between the public and expert reports is that the experts rated Obama higher on Shaper weaknesses: impatience, aggressiveness, and being provocative. The explanation for this difference could be that Obama has not displayed these weaknesses in his most significant public exposure opportunities. During the debates, Obama projected a more laid back style, holding his own but not appearing to be provocative or aggressive.

The most highly ranked words or phrases as chosen by the public for Obama are: calm and confident, broad in outlook (both of these phrases are associated with the Belbin Coordinator role), persuasive, adaptable, clever and analytical.

Interested in the Detailed Expert Report?


In hindsight, how accurate do you think these predictions were?

Comment below and let us know what you think.


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