Every organization has several ongoing projects that are segregated as per their topic under different departments.
Each department makes small teams and selects a leader amongst them. This leader is responsible for all the major decisions taken there onwards.
The question arises of how the department head or the organization’s management department will understand whom to select under which group. Every human has their style and behavioral attributes.
So the management must have a deep knowledge of the employees’ or team members’ roles and behavior.
So to recognize these different roles, team leaders take the help of Belbin’s Team Roles theory which helps them find and make a balanced team so that it can work effectively.
What is Belbin’s Team Roles Theory?
In 1981, Meredith Berlin developed a theory that is based on different human attributes and behaviors.
Belbin invested over nine years and worked very hard, but every bit of the struggle paid off when his theory became one of the most successful and widely used tools that helped the management to build a good and improved team.
Belbin’s team role is more than just a theory to learn or understand.
Belbin’s team roles are efficient and work effectively to understand and improve the previous performance of a team by enhancing its strengths, showing it a way to achieve success, and helping the members deal with their weaknesses.
In his theory, Meredith Belbin has described human roles via nine different roles and behaviors.
These behaviors are described as a group of 9 different behavioral attributes that help a team achieve progress and success. It is divided into three parts and sub-divided into nine ways, given as follows:
- Action Oriented or Task Roles – The Shaper, The Implementer, and The Completer Finisher
- People-Oriented or Social Roles – The Coordinator, Team worker, and The Resource Investigator
- Thought-Oriented or Thinking Roles – Plant, The Monitor Evaluator, and The Specialist
Belbin 9 Team Roles
Action-Oriented or Task Roles
Action-oriented or task roles are one of the three categories of Belbin’s Team roles theory.
These roles are generally connected and relate to the initial stage of the process as it is the first stage, so members need to become more familiar with their work environment and need time to adjust to the new work environment with new team members.
Here, the leader’s main focus is settling the new members. The leader has to double his efforts to make the members feel comfortable so they can work smoothly.
It makes a strong strategy and plans for the future purposes it needs to perform—assigning tasks to the members according to their merits and nature.
It also gives a firm shape and strengthens the team. It makes the team independent in facing challenges on its own.
Lastly, it gives it a finishing touch by inspecting it and solving the errors in the process. It is subdivided into three categories, as described below.
The role of the shaper is usually played by an extrovert who can speak publicly and challenge their team members. It gives the team strength to overcome obstacles on its way.
It makes the team strong and independent to overcome their weakness. This attribute of Belbin’s model helps the team to ensure that it keeps moving towards progress and keeps its focus strong.
They have a nature of constant questioning so that the team can find the best solutions to improve their functions.
This attribute helps the team make a strong strategy and a way to carry out the plan efficiently. Its strength is that it is practical, reliable, and efficient enough to solve unexpected obstacles.
Sometimes, it may work slowly in responding to new positive changes, which might become its weakness. The implementers are always ready to work hard and achieve targetted goals on time.
The Completer Finisher
The total finishers have a typical nature of being perfectionists. They have the duty of monitoring the quality of the product or project. He ensures that the work delegated to the team is finished on time and professionally.
This is one of the highest standards in the quality control process. Its strength is that it searches for errors, corrects them, and makes them perfect.
It is used at the end of a task to take a last-minute error check and give a finished look.
People-Oriented or Social Roles
The second category of Belbin’s team role is social or People-oriented roles.
With the Change in time, the process stages change, and the human attributes may even vary with the Change in stages. As they say, Change is the only constant.
Here the team members undergo many changes as both the process stage and the human attributes tend to vary from their previous forms.
The main focus here is to keep the members focused so they stay on track.
With the help of some coordinators, team workers, and resource investigators, the leader tries to build a light work environment that creates a jolly mood for the team members.
This attribute of Belbin’s team roles helps the team focus on the team’s objectives and delegate work to the team members. Its strength is that it is clear, confident, and sorted with its objectives and goals.
But on the other side, it is sometimes a bit manipulative that might create a sense of jealousy among the members over the work allotted to them.
His role is similar to that of a traditional leader, who delegates the work to the team members.
This is essential for any team to work effectively and efficiently. The cooperative nature of the partnership between its members is its main strength.
Teamwork helps the team members to gel up, know each other better and make them comfortable working with each other.
It also helps in finishing the work allotted on time. But like every team, some members are introverted and uncomfortable opening up to new people in a fraction of a second, which might take some time.
Some members may be afraid of putting their point of view in front of everyone, which results in a team’s weakness.
The Resource Investigator
Here is not the team’s attribute but the resource investigator’s attribute and sense of knowledge that helps the team find unique, catchy, and different ideas that help the group explore new opportunities.
But the over-excitement becomes its weakness when the excitement levels get down after a few days, and the interest fades away. It distracts them and may cause them to lose their focus.
Thought-Oriented or Thinking Roles
Here, the leader decided to go and move forward with their team members’ desires and thought processes.
Here the team leader introduces the team members to a few professionals so that the members can work under their surveillance and decrease the chances of making mistakes.
With the help of professional support, the members get help in completing their projects and tasks better, dealing with the outer world becomes easier, and the knowledge of the members with these roles helps in professionally completing the tasks.
This attribute of Belbin’s team roles is the most creative process and works as a problem solver for the team members.
It works differently than the old long process that has been followed and used from ancient times; instead, it uses its creative nature and innovatively makes new plans and ideas.
But sometimes it becomes too occupied in its work and needs more communication skills, proving to be its weakness.
The Plant of any team is responsible for producing innovative and exciting ideas for the team’s benefit. They have the nature of a typical introvert and often want to work alone.
The Monitor Evaluator
It helps the team make decisions based on a logical view over a realistic perspective. The process is clear-headed, only focusing on its ultimate goal, and works strategically by viewing all possible ways and options.
It also helps in monitoring the overall work process and making sudden decisions.
But sometimes, it becomes critical for the members as a sudden change in the pre-planned strategy makes the members feel annoyed, and it also causes a waste of resources.
The ultimate task of a monitor evaluator is to analyze and strategically evaluate the ideas for future benefit.
Just like any other specialist, this attribute helps the member by providing the best knowledge in any vital matter as and whenever required.
It is very devoted and determined in nature. It contributes more toward the narrower side.
Sometimes this becomes critical and can be too informative, which might make the user feel confused and annoyed.
The Specialist acts as a master of the team and has pride in their knowledge and expertise about the project topic. They have higher authority over technical and practical topics.
How to Use Meredith Belbin’s Team Roles?
Meredith Belbin’s Team Roles theory suggests that team members naturally assume certain roles based on their personality traits and strengths.
Understanding these roles can help team members work together more effectively and improve performance. Here’s how to use Belbin’s Team Roles:
Identify the team roles:
Belbin identified nine team roles that individuals naturally fall into. These roles include the Plant, Monitor Evaluator, Resource Investigator, Coordinator, Implementer, Completer Finisher, Teamworker, Shaper, and Specialist.
Assess each team member:
Use a Belbin assessment or observe team members to identify which roles they are best suited for. Each team member should have one or two primary roles and a few secondary roles.
Assign tasks accordingly:
Assign tasks that align with each team member’s strengths and roles. For example, assign tasks that require creativity to a Plant, tasks that require attention to detail to a Completer Finisher, and tasks that require coordination to a Coordinator.
Balance the team:
Ensure that the team has a balance of roles to cover all aspects of the project. Avoid having too many team members with similar roles, as this can lead to conflicts and an unbalanced team.
Understanding each team member’s role can help you manage conflicts more effectively. For example, suppose there is a conflict between a Plant and a Monitor Evaluator. In that case, you can mediate the conflict by reminding them of their respective strengths and how they can work together to achieve the team’s goals.
By using Belbin’s Team Roles, you can create a more effective and efficient team that works well together and achieves its goals.
The Belbin questionnaire
The Belbin questionnaire is a tool used to identify an individual’s preferred team role(s) in the workplace. The questionnaire is designed to measure an individual’s behavioral tendencies in a team setting and is based on the theory developed by Dr. Meredith Belbin.
The questionnaire typically consists of statements or questions requiring the individual to rate how well they believe the statement describes their behavior. The questions are designed to assess the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the nine team roles identified by Belbin, which are:
- Monitor Evaluator
- Resource Investigator
- Completer Finisher
Once the individual completes the questionnaire, their responses are analyzed to determine their preferred team role(s) and how well they fit into the overall team. This information can be used to build more effective teams, as well as to identify areas for personal and professional development.
It is important to note that the Belbin questionnaire is just one tool in identifying an individual’s preferred team role(s) and that it should be used in conjunction with other assessment methods to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s behavior in a team setting.
Belbin Team Roles Examples
Belbin’s team roles theory identifies nine distinct team roles that individuals may exhibit within a team. Here are some examples of how these team roles might manifest in the workplace:
- Plant: A creative individual who generates new ideas and approaches to problem-solving. They may be unorthodox or unconventional thinking and struggle with implementation.
- Monitor Evaluator: An analytical and strategic thinker who is able to assess ideas and plans objectively. They may be perceived as overly critical or lacking in creativity.
- Coordinator: A natural leader who is able to bring people together and delegate tasks effectively. They are skilled at identifying team strengths and weaknesses and developing strategies to maximize performance.
- Resource Investigator: A sociable and outgoing individual who enjoys networking and identifying new opportunities. They may be easily distracted and struggle with following through on tasks.
- Implementer: A practical and reliable individual who is skilled at turning ideas into action. They may be resistant to change and struggle with ambiguity.
- Completer Finisher: A detail-oriented individual who is skilled at ensuring tasks are completed to a high standard. They may struggle with the delegation and may be perceived as perfectionistic.
- Teamwork: A diplomatic individual who is skilled at building relationships and resolving conflicts within the team. They may struggle with making tough decisions and prioritizing tasks.
- Shaper: A dynamic and results-driven individual who thrives on challenge and competition. They may be perceived as abrasive or confrontational.
- Specialist: A highly skilled and knowledgeable individual who brings unique expertise to the team. They may struggle with seeing the big picture or working outside of their area of expertise.
It’s important to note that individuals may exhibit more than one team role trait and that a successful team will ideally comprise individuals who can complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Belbin Team Roles Strengths And Weaknesses
Belbin’s team roles theory suggests that successful teams require a diverse mix of individuals who each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table.
Here are some strengths and weaknesses associated with each of the nine team roles:
|Plant||Generates fresh and creative ideas, thinks outside the box, stimulates innovation and exploration||Can be impractical, can lack focus on the task at hand, can struggle with follow-through|
|Monitor Evaluator||Analyses information objectively, identifies problems and potential issues, can identify the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas and strategies||Can be seen as overly critical, may lack creativity or risk-taking, may struggle to commit to a course of action|
|Coordinator||Organises and motivates the team, clarifies goals and roles, identifies team strengths and weaknesses and assigns tasks accordingly||May struggle with delegation or taking a back seat, may over-rely on others to make decisions or take action|
|Resource Investigator||Identifies external opportunities and resources, builds relationships and networks, brings new ideas and perspectives to the team||Can be easily distracted, may struggle to focus on one task at a time, may neglect existing relationships or tasks in favour of new opportunities|
|Implementer||Turns plans and ideas into action, reliable and practical, pays attention to detail||May be resistant to change or new ideas, may struggle with abstract or theoretical concepts, may struggle to delegate tasks|
|Completer Finisher||Ensures tasks are completed to a high standard, pays attention to detail, reliable and conscientious||May be seen as overly critical or perfectionistic, may struggle with prioritising tasks, may have difficulty delegating work|
|Teamworker||Builds relationships and resolves conflicts, helps to create a positive team dynamic, is sensitive to others’ needs||May struggle to make tough decisions, may avoid conflict or difficult conversations, may be seen as a “people pleaser”|
|Shaper||Challenging and dynamic, thrives under pressure and competition, encourages others to take action||May be perceived as confrontational or abrasive, may overlook others’ feelings or needs, may struggle with diplomacy|
|Specialist||Brings specialist knowledge or expertise to the team, provides a unique perspective or skill set, is passionate and committed to their area of expertise||May struggle to see the bigger picture or to work outside of their area of expertise, may find it difficult to communicate their ideas to others, may be seen as overly focused on their own area of work|
Team roles change with the Change in time and with the experiences gained by the team members. There is always a high chance that every team has all team roles.
It’s just that some members identify it by themselves, and some get to know about or learn about it while learning every day with new experiences at work.
Leaders can use Belbin’s team roles and create a balance between the team and its members. It has a mixture of different personalities, behaviors, and skills that fulfill the different roles that are required by the theory.
It depends on the team size, how many members need to perform how many roles. In the case of smaller teams where it is impossible to fulfill all types of roles, it depends upon the team’s priority and which role it needs to fulfill first.
The team members should share their knowledge and experiences with other members as this helps in creating a comforting zone where they feel free to talk and share about their discomforts.
A happy and jolly work environment makes the members less stressed because they don’t feel when the office hours pass and the work gets done.
What is Belbin’s Team Roles theory?
Belbin’s Team Roles theory is a framework that suggests that individuals in a team naturally take on certain roles based on their personality traits and strengths.
There are nine different roles, and understanding these roles can help improve team performance.
How do you identify team roles?
Team roles can be identified through a Belbin assessment or by observing team members in action.
Each team member will have one or two primary roles and a few secondary roles.
How do you assign tasks according to team roles?
Tasks should be assigned based on each team member’s strengths and roles. For example, a task that requires creativity could be assigned to a Plant, while a task that requires attention to detail could be assigned to a Completer Finisher.
How do you balance the team’s roles?
It’s important to ensure that the team has a balance of roles to cover all aspects of the project.
Avoid having too many team members with similar roles, as this can lead to conflicts and an unbalanced team.
How can Belbin’s Team Roles theory help manage conflicts?
Understanding each team member’s role can help you manage conflicts more effectively.
For example, if there is a conflict between a Plant and a Monitor Evaluator, you can remind them of their strengths and how to work together to achieve the team’s goals.
Is Belbin’s Team Roles theory widely used?
Yes, Belbin’s Team Roles theory is widely used in both academic and business settings.
It is often used to improve team performance, manage conflicts, and create more effective teams.
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“Vision, strategy, and inspiration – these three words describe me the best. I am the founder of “TheLeaderboy” dedicated to leadership and personal development. As a self-taught practitioner, I have been studying the principles of effective leadership for the past decade and my passion lies in sharing my insights with others. My mission is to empower individuals to become better leader