#15: Belbin Team Roles

Successful teams contain people with a mixture of key attributes.
It is this variety that makes an effective team. This learning byte explores the team roles Dr Belbin identified when people become part of a team

Plant: Creative, imaginative. Solves difficult problems, provides new insights.

Resource Investigator: Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities, develops contacts. Responds to challenges.

Co-ordinator: Mature, self-confident, controlled and trusting. A good chairperson. Encourages contributions from all.

Shaper: Dynamic, outgoing, highly strung. Challenges, pressurises, finds ways round obstacles. Drive and readiness to challenge inertia, ineffectiveness and complacency.

Monitor Evaluator: Sober, strategic, prudent and discerning. Assesses all options and provides objective judgement.

Team Worker: Socially oriented, mild, perceptive and accommodating. Listens, builds, averts friction and promotes team spirit.

Implementer: Self-disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Turns ideas into practical actions. Hard working and demonstrates practical common sense.

Completer/Finisher: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors and omissions. Follows through on detail and delivers on time.

Specialist: Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated. Provides
knowledge or technical skills in rare supply.

Top Tips

To enhance your exiting team performance by allocating tasks to the most suited team role:

  • 1
    What team roles do you curretnly?
  • 2
    Which ones are you missing?
  • 3
    What is the impact?
  • 4
    What conflict may already exist ?
  • 5
    In light of this what can you/the team STOP/START/CON TINUE doing to enhance team performance further?

Although there are nine team roles this does not mean that all teams need nine people. 

Teams should be the right size for the job and in most teams members will need to fill more than one role. An individual is likely to have one or two team roles to which they are ideally suited.

They will also have several team roles which, whilst not their ideal, are those which they may assume if there are no other suitable candidates in the team or if those roles are required by their job. They will also have some roles that are best avoided or difficult for them to adopt.

It has been shown that a well-structured team can achieve a great deal. With a mixture of roles in a team and with every member playing to their strengths (and understanding and respecting the strengths of others) team efficiency can increase.