Belbin's Team Roles
Create a more balanced team.
Why is it that some teams work together so productively, while others struggle to get things done?
Good collaboration depends on more than people being enthusiastic and communicating well. Between them, they need the right mix of skills and behaviors to service the team, too.
One way to work out what's missing from your team and, equally, what might be overemphasized is to understand Belbin's Team Roles. Then you can start to put things right.
Dr Meredith Belbin showed that individuals in a team tend to behave in one of nine ways, each fulfilling a different role. He divided these roles into three types: Action Oriented, People Oriented, and Thought Oriented roles.
The three Action Oriented roles focus on challenging the team to improve its performance, put the ideas into action, and meet deadlines. In brief: Shapers are extroverts and question assumptions. They can offend! Implementers bring self-discipline to the team and get things done, but they can be resistant to change. Completer-Finishers pay attention to the smallest detail and make sure things are done right. They might worry too much.
People Oriented roles draw together people and ideas. The Coordinators in a team will guide, listen, delegate, and bring calm and order. They might be manipulative, though. Team Workers support their co-workers and can negotiate diplomatically, but sometimes get stuck in indecision. Resource Investigators use their optimism and curiosity to develop outside contacts, but they can lose their enthusiasm quickly.
People in the Thought Oriented roles tend to analyze options or provide technical expertise. The Plants are usually introverted, lone workers who come up with the most innovative ideas and solutions – which might break all the rules! Monitor-Evaluators will coldly and critically assess the team's options. They, too, can appear detached at times. Specialists know their subject and maintain their professional standards, but might miss the bigger picture.
So, who do you have on board right now? Take some time to observe your team at work. What does each person contribute, and how do they interact with one another? Now match their behaviors to Belbin's model.
For more information about Belbin's Team Roles, see the article that accompanies this video.