What are the Belbin Team Roles? Description
The Belbin Team Roles method, also referred to as Belbin Team
Inventory, was developed by Dr. Raymond Meredith Belbin and first published
in his 1981 book Management Teams. It is a model that can be used to describe
and gain insight into the behavior of one team member in relationship to another.
The Belbin Inventory scores people on how strongly they express traits from
9 different Team Roles.
Cluster of Behavior
Strengths - Contributions
|Brings dynamism, challenging, thrives on pressure.
The drive and courage to overcome obstacles.
The shaper is a task-focused
leader who abounds in nervous energy, who has a high motivation to achieve
and for whom winning is the name of the game. The shaper is committed
to achieving ends and will ‘shape’ others into achieving the aims of
|Prone to provocation. Offends people's feelings.
she will challenge, argue or disagree and will display aggression in
the pursuit of goal achievement. Two or three shapers in a group can
lead to conflict, aggravation and in-fighting.
|Brings discipline and reliability, conservative and efficient.
Turns ideas into practical actions.
Implementers are aware of external
obligations and are disciplined, conscientious and have a good self-image.
They tend to be tough-minded and practical, trusting and tolerant, respecting
established traditions. They are characterized by low anxiety and tend
to work for the team in a practical, realistic way. Implementers figure
prominently in positions of responsibility in larger organizations.
They tend to do the jobs that others do not want to do and do them well:
for example, disciplining employees.
|Somewhat inflexible and conservative. Slow to respond to
|Brings conscientiousness, painstaking, anxious. Searches
out errors and omissions. Delivers on time.
The completer finisher
gives attention to detail, aims to complete and to do so thoroughly.
They make steady effort and are consistent in their work. They are not
so interested in the glamour of spectacular success.
|Inclined to worry unduly. Reluctant to delegate.
|Brings maturity, confident, a good chairperson. Clarifies
goals, promotes decision-making, delegates well.
The coordinator is
a person-oriented leader. This person is trusting, accepting, dominant
and is committed to team goals and objectives. The coordinator is a
positive thinker who approves of goal attainment, struggle and effort
in others. The coordinator is someone tolerant enough always to listen
to others, but strong enough to reject their advice.
|Can often be seen as manipulative. Off loads personal work.
May not stand out in a team and usually does not have a sharp intellect.
|Brings co-operation, mild, perceptive and
diplomatic. Listens, builds, averts friction.
Team workers make
helpful interventions to avert potential friction and enable difficult
characters within the team to use their skills to positive ends. They
tend to keep team spirit up and allow other members to contribute effectively.
Their diplomatic skills together with their sense of humor are assets
to a team. They tend to have skills in listening, coping with awkward
people and to be sociable, sensitive and people oriented.
|Indecisive in crunch situations.
to be indecisive in moments of crisis and reluctant to do things that
might hurt others.
|Brings enthusiasm, extrovert, communicative. Explores
opportunities. Develops contacts.
The resource investigator is the
executive who is never in his room, and if he is, he is on the telephone.
The resource investigator is someone who explores opportunities and
develops contacts. Resource investigators are good negotiators who probe
others for information and support and pick up other’s ideas and develop
them. They are characterized by sociability and enthusiasm and are good
at liaison work and exploring resources outside the group.
|Over - optimistic. Loses interest once initial enthusiasm
Is usually not the source of original ideas.
Cerebral (thinking and problem-solving)
|Brings creativity, imaginative, unorthodox. Solves
The plant is a specialist idea maker characterized
by high IQ and introversion while also being dominant and original.
The plant tends to take radical approaches to team functioning and problems.
Plants are more concerned with major issues than with details.
|Ignores incidentals. Too pre-occupied to communicate effectively.
Tendency to disregard practical details and to argumentativeness.
|Brings objective judgment, sober, strategic and discerning.
Sees all options. Judges accurately.
According to the model, this
is a judicious, prudent, intelligent person with a low need to achieve.
Monitor evaluators contribute particularly at times of crucial decision
making because they are capable of evaluating competing proposals. The
monitor evaluator is not deflected by emotional arguments, is serious
minded, tends to be slow in coming to a decision because of a need to
think things over. He takes pride in never being wrong.
|Lacks drive and ability to inspire others.
dry and boring or even over-critical. Those in high level appointments
are often monitor evaluators.
|(Added by Belbin in 1988). Brings dedication, single-minded,
self-starting. Provides knowledge and skills in rare supply.
are often highly introverted and anxious and tend to be self-starting,
dedicated and committed.
|Contributes only on a narrow front. Dwells on technicalities.
Single-mindedness and a lack of interest in other peoples’ subjects.
Origin of the Belbin Team Roles model. History
Raymond Meredith Belbin was born in 1926. He took first and second degrees
at Cambridge University. After his doctorate, he was as a research fellow
at Cranfield College. His early research focused mainly on older workers in
industry. He returns to Cambridge in the late 1960s and joins the Industrial
Training Research Unit. Here he is invited to carry out research at what was
then called the Administrative Staff College at Henley-on-Thames. This work
formed the basis of his 1981 book 'Management Teams'.
Usage of Belbin Team Roles. Applications
- Ensuring that each needed role in a team or project is actually performed
- Clustering certain activities in one team member in a logical way.
- If the team members are allowed to perform the activities they like
most, they will be more motivated which will normally increase the team
- Well balanced teams are less risk-bearing and typically require less
Limitations of the Belbin Team Roles method. Disadvantages
While comparisons can be drawn between the behavioral team
roles of Belbin and
it is important to remember that Belbin roles represent tasks and functions
in the self-management of the activities in a team, and are not personality
types or Thinking Preferences.
Although there are tests to analyze your ideal team roles, this does not
mean you can not or should not assume other roles.
In larger projects, the team activities are likely to be grouped
into Team Processes.
- Belbin himself acknowledges that some teams consisting of one Shaper
and a group of "yes" men perform well, especially where predictability was
- Actually, team activities change during a project. Compare:
Stages of Team Development.
- There may be more than one plant needed to bring ideas and perspectives
into a team. Compare: Six
- The model does not take into account hierarchal relations between people.
- Certain people may not like each other. As a result they may be unable
to work together.
Book: R. Meredith Belbin - Management Teams -
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Compare with Belbin's Team Roles:
Stages of Team Development
| Action Learning
| Six Thinking Hats
| Brainstorming |
Whole Brain Model |
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