Belbin’s Team Roles

We all want to find a way of helping people to work together. But how do you find the right combination?

Research shows that the most successful teams are made up of a diverse mix of behaviours. We need diversity and balance. But who does what? How can we play to our strengths and use our talents, knowledge and skills to advantage at work? Can we be honest about our shortcomings?

Looking at businesses, Dr Meredith Belbin’s research found that the most successful companies tended to be those with a mix of different people with a range of different behaviours. He identified nine distinct clusters of behaviour called “Team Roles”.

1. Resource Investigator

This is the person finds the necessary bits and pieces necessary to achieve objectives. Cheerful and extroverted, a resource investigator is enthusiastic, adventurous and open-minded and always looking for new ideas. Naturally good at developing and maintaining contacts.

2. Teamworker

This is the person who helps sort out personal and professional issues and supports the team to gel. A sensitive member of the staff a teamworker is helpful, accommodating and focused on creating a pleasant and harmonious atmosphere and sense of togetherness. A teamworker prefers balance and harmony and is close to others.

3. Coordinator

This is the person who looks after procedures, sets the agenda for team meetings, helps team members clarify intentions and summarises what everyone wants. A coordinator establishes priorities and facilitates discussion, trusts others and delegates easily. A coordinator has a nose for talent and knows how to utilise people to their full potential.

4. Plant

This is the person who comes up with original ideas and is the creative thinker of the team. This free spirit is an innovative individual who needs space to fantasise about new and surprising solutions to complex problems.

5. Monitor Evaluator

This is the person who evaluates what the team as a whole are committing themselves to, analyses situations and wants to get to the bottom of things. Sensible, thoughtful and critical, a monitor evaluator is the analyst of the team.

6. Specialist

This person provides technical expertise and is an immeasurable source of knowledge. A specialist possesses substantial knowledge, a specialist acts as an advisor and is happy to be consulted and will provide knowledge on a specific topic with pleasure and ease.

7. Shaper

This person gets things going, drives the team towards its objectives, makes sure deadlines are made and goals are met. A shaper looks for challenges, is driven, passionate and willful and has a strong urge to perform.

8. Implementer

This is the person who is the practical organiser within the team and turns strategy into action. Disciplined, orderly and task-oriented, an implementer puts plans and ideas into easily executable tasks.

9. Completer Finisher

This person is orderly, conscientious and detail orientated who will check and recheck and has the talent to feel what could go wrong.

The Belbin website goes into more detail about these roles including ‘allowable weaknesses’. I recommend taking a closer look to learn more as well as the videos below.

What Belbin acknowledges is that we might perform more than one role especially if we are part of a smaller team. Conflict can arise when there is a duplication of these roles within a team.


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