When a team is performing at its best, you'll usually find that each team member has clear responsibilities. You'll also see that every role needed to achieve the team's goal is being performed fully and well. But often, despite clear roles and responsibilities, a team will fall short of its full potential. Perhaps some team members don't complete the things you expect them to do. Perhaps others are not quite flexible enough, so things "fall between the cracks." Maybe someone who is valued for her expert input fails to see the wider picture, and so misses out tasks or steps that others would expect. Or perhaps one team member becomes frustrated because he disagrees with the approach of other team members. Dr Meredith Belbin studied team-work for many years, and he famously observed that people in teams tend to assume different "team roles." He defined a team role as "a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way" and named nine such team roles that he argued underlie team success. Creating Balanced Teams
Team leaders and team development practitioners often use the Belbin model to help create more balanced teams. Teams can become unbalanced if all team members have similar styles of behavior or team roles. If team members have similar weakness, the team as a whole may tend to have that weakness. If team members have similar team-work strengths, they may tend to compete (rather than co-operate) for the team tasks and responsibilities that best suit their natural styles. Knowing this, you can use the model with your team to help ensure that necessary team roles are covered, and that potential behavioral tensions or weaknesses among the team member are addressed. Also, by understanding your role within a particular team, you can develop your strengths and manage your weaknesses as a team member, and so improve how you contribute to the team.
Belbin's "team roles" are based on observed behavior and interpersonal styles....