What is the Belbin Team Role Theory?

Published: 21st April 2010
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What is a team role? A team role as defined by Dr Meredith Belbin is: "A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way."

Belbin team roles describe a pattern of behaviour that characterises one person's behaviour in relationship to another in facilitating the progress of a team. The value of Belbin team-role theory lies in enabling an individual or team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust according to the demands being made by any given external situation.

The Belbin team role theory originated from longitudinal research that was conducted over a period of nine years, where Meredith Belbin and his team of researchers based at Henley Management College, studied the behaviour of managers from all over the world. Managers taking part in the study were given a battery of psychometric tests and put into teams of varying composition, while they were engaged in a complex management exercise. Their different core personality traits, intellectual styles and behaviours were assessed during the Belbin experiment. As time progressed different clusters of behaviour were identified as underlying the success of the teams. These successful clusters of behaviour were then given names. Hence the emergence of nine team roles.

These roles were categorised by the Belbin approach in the following way;

Belbin's Action-oriented roles - Shaper, Implementer, and Completer Finisher,

Belbin's 'SHAPER' - Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. The drive and courage to overcome obstacles. But Prone to provocation, offending people's feelings.

Belbin's 'IMPLEMENTER' - Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Turns ideas into practical actions, but is somewhat inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.

Belbin's 'COMPLETER/ FINISHER' - Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors and omissions and delivers on time. But is inclined to worry unduly and is reluctant to delegate.

Belbin's People-oriented roles - Co-ordinator, Team worker and Resource Investigator

Belbin's 'CO-ORDINATOR' - Mature, confident, a good chairperson, clarifies goals, promotes decision-making and delegates well. But can often be seen as manipulative and tends to off load personal work.

Belbin's 'TEAMWORKER' - Co-operative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens, builds and averts friction. But can be indecisive in crunch situations.

Belbin's 'RESOURCE INVESTIGATOR' - Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. explores opportunities and develops contacts. But can be over - optimistic. Loses interest once initial enthusiasm has passed.

Belbin's Cerebral roles - Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist

Belbin's 'PLANT' - Creative, imaginative, unorthodox and able to solve difficult problems. But, ignores incidentals and is too pre-occupied to communicate effectively.

Belbin's 'MONITOR EVALUATOR' - Sober, strategic and discerning, sees all options and judges accurately. But lacks drive and ability to inspire others.

Belbin's 'SPECIALIST' - Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated., provides knowledge and skills in rare supply. But contributes only on a narrow front and dwells on technicalities.

Results from the Belbin research showed that there are a finite number of behaviours or TEAM ROLES which comprise certain patterns of behaviour which can be adopted naturally by the various personality types found among people at work. The accurate delineation of these TEAM ROLES is critical in understanding the dynamics of any management or work team.

So how can Dr Meredith Belbin's approach help you to develop the people in your business?

The Belbin approach helps you recognise what drives them, what motivates them, what influences them? How you motivate ordinary people to do extra ordinary things, with commitment, self worth and great results. If you invest in developing your people, you will develop your business. People are your business. It is people that drive a business forwards, slow it down or even put it in reverse.'

Leap Plc are specialists in team building , employee motivation and management training and can help you to develop the people in your business. Leap employ the Beblin approach along with other pshychological tools to get the best out of your employees and to push your business forward.

Find out howBelbin Team Role Theory could help your business grow! Investing and understanding what motivates your staff to develop your business!

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