Belbin’s Team Roles- A Detailed Study

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An Introduction

A successful team has two features. The first one is that each and every team member has distinct roles and the second one is that, each person performs his role well. In this article, you will learn about Belbin’s Team Roles and how it helps in team management.

Belbin’s Team Role- Definition

Devised by Meredith Belbin, team role is defined as the strategy by which a team member handles his or her work and deals with other members. According to Belbin, there are nine roles that highlight the success of a team.

He stated that if a person realizes his role in a team, he can work on his weaknesses and sharpen his strengths. There have been instances when a team performs poorly because a member is not satisfied with the opinion of another team member or the work done by a member is not up to the mark. Each and every team member is different from the other and separate team roles help in building a team and its dynamics.

However, problems arise when all members in a team have similar strengths and weaknesses. Each member tries to avoid the same tasks and tries to show his or her efficiency in similar tasks. It is the duty of a leader to understand the potential of each and every member and align tasks accordingly.

Thus, the nine roles that Belbin has talked about not only reinforce each other, but can also compete with each other.

Belbin’s Team Roles: Categorization

Belbin categorized the nine roles into three separate types. They are Thought Oriented, Action Oriented and People Oriented.

Thought Oriented Roles:

Plant: He or she is a storehouse of ideas and is characterized by high IQ. A plant is an introvert on one hand and dominant on the other.

A plant cannot accept criticism and loves to be praised. He or she has poor communication skills and is unwilling to maintain any kind of parameter at work.

Monitor-Evaluator: A monitor-evaluator is an analyst and evaluates the ideas initiated by a Plant. He or she is intelligent and thinks about the positive and negative sides of a decision. A monitor-evaluator is thus important during critical times.

A monitor-evaluator appears boring and unemotional to others. He or she is low in reacting to incidents and are poor at inspiring people.

Specialist: He or she has knowledge on a special field that helps in doing the job. A specialist is proud of his or her skills and is hard working. He or she is dedicated and takes the initiative to start a task.

Specialists are introverts and lack interest in other fields. Because of this they often do not realize what is more important for the entire organization.

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Action Oriented Roles:

Shaper: A shaper is a person who stimulates other members in a team by challenging pre-established rules. He or she finds out solutions to critical problems and keeps on working hard, even if the rest of the team goes easy. A shaper is an influential and a winner.

But, a shaper can be aggressive and can hurt people’s feelings. Belbin remarked that if a team has more than two shapers there can be a lot of in-fighting.
Implementer: An implementer implements ideas and gets the jobs done. He or she is efficient, reliable and disciplined. He or she tends to respect norms and generally belongs to good positions in big organizations. An implementer is good at bringing rules and regulations in a company.

Since implementers are conservative, they are not flexible as far as new possibilities are concerned.

Completer-Finisher: A completer finisher is a member in a team who ensures that assignments are completed. He or she looks into details in order to avoid any error. He or she is also particular about meeting deadlines and pushes the team to complete work on time. A completer-finisher is hard working and gives consistent effort to execute his or her work.

Being over-anxious, a completer-finisher finds it hard to hand over.

People Oriented Roles:

Coordinator: Coordinators are conventional team leaders. They instruct the team to meet the objectives of the company. They have the ability to realize the importance of each and every team member. Coordinators are good listeners, well mannered and are aware of the quantity as well as the type of work to be delegated to each team member. They approve the effort given by others and are also strong enough to declare their disapproval.

In most cases, it has been noticed that a coordinator is manipulative and tries to get things done for his or her benefits.

Team worker: A team worker is one who makes sure that every member in a team works together. Being diplomatic and flexible, they have the capacity to negotiate conflicts within the team. They are popular and try to keep the team intact though amicable means. They are characterized by a strong sense of humor, sensibility, good listening skills, sensitivity to the problems of others and a potential to deal with those people whom others do not want to handle.

They have problem taking quick decisions as they do not want to offend or hurt others in a team.

Resource Investigator: He or she is curious and creative at the same time. A resource investigator negotiates for resources and explores choices that are available to the team. He or she is energetic about his or her work and corresponds with external stakeholders to get a work done. A resource investigator has an outgoing character and socializing skills.

However, a resource investigator may lose interest in an idea sooner than it fascinates them and the ideas he or she comes up with are mostly not his or her own.

Belbin's Team Roles – A Synopsis

Belbin’s Team Roles speak thoroughly about the personality of a team member and the way he or she fulfils the duties. Team role is a psychological state that describes a member. If a leader wants to bring out the best in his or her team, he has to understand the psychology of each and every member and delegate work accordingly.


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