The nine Belbin Team Roles enable managers and team leaders to build successful teams that capitalise on the strengths of individual team members. A team with the right blend of Team Roles has more chance of achieving its objectives than an unbalanced team with similar personalities.
Teams can become unbalanced if all team members assume similar roles within the team. If team members share the same kind of weaknesses, those weaknesses tend to be magnified and reflected in the team as a whole. Likewise, if team members have the same strengths, they may instinctively compete for the tasks and responsibilities that suit their personality styles.
Our Belbin Team Roles training courseshelp team leaders and team development practitioners create more balanced teams. By understanding how the nine Belbin Team Roles “fit together”, team leaders can build successful teams that cooperate rather than compete.
The Belbin Team Roles consist of:
Shapers are people who drive the team forward, ensuring that they meet deadlines are achieve objectives. Shapers are dynamic and competitive people who seek to challenge their team mates and look for different ways to overcome obstacles. Extroverted and passionate, the Shaper’s pioneering and courageous attitude ensures the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
Strengths: Dynamic, driven, courageous, competitive, and thrive under pressure. They have the drive and courage to meet challenges head-on.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be susceptible to provocation and have trouble working with less ambitious people. May sometimes offend people and hurt their feelings.
Implementers are people who get things done. Of the nine Belbin Team Roles, Implementers are the ones most likely to turn ideas and concepts into practical actions. Conservative by nature, Implementers are disciplined and task-oriented people who excel in creating and implementing business strategies.
Strengths: Practical and dependable. Implementers turn ideas into actions and organise the workload to ensure that the team completes tasks quickly and efficiently.
Allowable weaknesses: Often stuuborn and averse to adopting new ideas and working practices.
Completer-Finishers are people who ensure that the team completes projects to the highest standards. Conscientious and with an eye for detail, Complete-Finishers pay attention to the smallest details in their quest for perfection. Of all the types of team roles, Complete-Finishers are the most concerned with meeting deadlines. Work colleagues often describe Complete-Finishers as perfectionists who are orderly and conscientious, but are also hesitant to delegate.
Strengths:Perfectionists who are orderly, conscientious and observant. Complete-Finishers work to an exceptional standard and expect their team mates to do the same.
Allowable weaknesses: Inclined to worry unduly. Reluctant to delegate.
Coordinators assume the traditional team-leader role and focus on the team’s objectives. Coordinators take it upon themselves to guide and manage the team. They delegate where necessary and encourage people to contribute to the team. People who assume the Coordinator role take an interest in their colleagues and can recognise the value that each person brings to the table. They are calm, confident and good-natured, and they know how to help people achieve their full potential.
Strengths: Calm, tolerant and natural leaders. Coordinators have a positive attitude towards work and are always looking for ways to get the most out of their team mates.
Allowable weaknesses: Coordinators may delegate too much personal responsibility, and their colleagues may view them as being manipulative.
Team Workers are helpful, accommodating and keen to ensure that people within the team work well together. It is also the most diplomatic and sensitive of the nine Belbin Team Roles. They often assume the role of negotiators within a team. Team Workers try to avoid conflict and prioritise team cohesion over their own performance. Their caring and understanding nature means that Team Works are often popular with other members of the team.
Strengths:Diplomatic, empathetic, cooperative and perceptive. Good listeners who aim to avert friction and conflict within a team.
Allowable weaknesses: Have a tendency to be indecisive in pressure situations. Avoids confrontation. Often maintains neutral positions during discussions and decision-making.
Resource Investigators are innovative and curious by nature. They are always looking for different ways in which to work. People who fill the Resource Investigator role seek to explore different options, nurture relationships and negotiate on behalf of the team. They are enthusiastic and outgoing people who are happy to work with external stakeholders. Resource Investigators are adventurous and extroverted people, which often leads people to be receptive to them and their ideas.
Strengths: Outgoing and enthusiastic. Keen to explore different ways of working. Proficient at building and developing contacts.
Allowable weaknesses: Resource Investigators can lose interest quickly and are often over-optimistic.
The Plant is the creative innovator of the nine Belbin Team Roles. They often come up with different ideas and approaches and are proficient at solving problems in unconventional ways. When given the time to think about solving difficult problems, Plants will often discover surprising and innovative ways to overcome obstacles. Because their ideas are often so unconventional, Plants can be impractical. They are also poor communicators and prefer to work apart from the team.
Strengths: Creative, imaginative, free-thinking people able to solve complex and challenging problems.
Allowable weaknesses: Plants find it difficult to handle criticism. They are introverted, impractical and often preoccupied with their own tasks to communicate effectively. Plants can be also difficult people to work with.
Monitor-Evaluators bring a strategic aspect to the team and are at their best when testing ideas that other people come up with. They have the ability to make impartial judgements and can weigh up the pros and cons of a decision in a practical manner. Monitor-Evaluators think critically about themselves and those around them. People often view Monitor-Evaluators as being detached or unemotional. Monitor-Evaluators are usually poor motivators and tend to react to events rather than instigating them.
Strengths: Strategic and analytical. Monitor-Evaluators have a logical eye and are well-equipped to make unbiased decisions.
Allowable weaknesses: Maintain intellectual reasoning for too long and can be overly critical, impassive and distant.
Specialists bring to the team a high level of expertise in a particular field. They pride themselves on their skills, knowledge and abilities, and they strive to maintain their professional status. Specialists are the experts in the team, and their job is often to provide technical support to team mates and clients.
Strengths: An immeasurable source of knowledge in their field. Dedicated and highly professional, Specialists are the “experts” of the 9 Belbin Team Roles.
Allowable weaknesses: Dwell on the technicalities. Specialists often limit their contributions to their area of expertise, and they often lack the social interaction skills of many of their colleagues.
Each of the nine Belbin Team Roles plays an important role in the success of a team. However, you do not need nine team members to take advantage of all types of team roles. Most people are perfectly capable of assuming two or three different Belbin Team Roles. Each Team Role has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each Team Role is equally important for developing high performance teams.
The team need not utilise all Belbin Team Roles at the same time. There may be times when the team does not require several of the roles; likewise, there will be other times when the group requires a full complement of Belbin Team Roles to achieve its objectives. By analysing team objectives, team leaders can make informed decisions about which roles the team needs to call upon, and when.
The first step in the process is for team members to complete our Belbin Self-Perception Questionnaire. Our Belbin Individual Report will help pin-point individual Team Role strengths (and weaknesses) to communicate and share with the rest of the team.
The Belbin system provides individuals with a greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. It also enables more effective communication between colleagues and managers. Belbin Team Roles Profilingempowers team leaders to assemble high performance teams and improve existing ones, and gives people the platform to make a valuable and telling contribution to the team.