Belbin's Theory

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A team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role which is understood by other members. Members of a team seek out certain roles and they perform most effectively in the ones that are most natural to them. Dr. R. M. Belbin

Belbin Team Roles are used to identify people's behavioural strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. This information can be used to:
Build productive working relationships
Select and develop high-performing teams
Raise self-awareness and personal effectiveness
Build mutual trust and understanding
Aid recruitment processes

Belbin Team Roles measure behaviour, not personality, and so can be defined as:

A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.
Dr. Meredith Belbin

The Team Roles that Meredith Belbin identified are used widely in thousands of organisations all over the world today. By identifying our Team Roles, we can ensure that we use our strengths to advantage and that we manage our weaknesses as best we can. Sometimes, this means being aware of the pitfalls and making an effort to avoid them

9 team roles
1.plant (pl)The first Team Role to be identified was the Plant. The role was so-called because one such individual was “planted” in each team. They tended to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.2.monitor evaluator (me)One by one, the other Team Roles began to emerge. The Monitor Evaluator was needed to provide a logical eye, make impartial judgements where required and to weigh up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.

3.co-ordinator (co) Co-ordinators were needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
4.resource investigator When the team was at risk of becoming isolated and inwardly-focused, Resource Investigators provided inside knowledge on the opposition and made sure that the team’s idea would carry to the world outside the team.

5. implementer-Implementers were needed to plan a practical, workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
6.complete finisherCompleter Finishers were most effectively used at the end of a task, to “polish” and scrutinise the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.

7.teamworkerTeamworkers helped the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
8.shaper - Challenging individuals, known as Shapers, provided the necessary drive to ensure that the team kept moving and did not lose focus or momentum.
9.specialist-It was only after the initial research had been completed that the ninth Team Role, Specialist emerged. In the real world, the value of an individual with in-depth knowledge of a key area came to be recognised as yet another essential team contribution. BALANCE IS KEY-

During his research, Meredith found that each of the behaviours were essential in getting the team successfully from start to finish. The key was balance. For example, Meredith Belbin found that a team with no Plants struggled to come up with the initial spark of an idea with which to push forward. However, once too many Plants were in the team, bad ideas concealed good ones and non-starters were given too much airtime. Similarly, with no Shaper, the team ambled along without drive and direction, missing deadlines. With too many Shapers, in-fighting began and morale was lowered. Strengths and ALLOWABLE weaknesses

As well as the strength or contribution they provide, each Team Role also has an associated allowable weakness: a flipside of the behavioural characteristics, which is allowable in the team because of the strength which goes with it. For example:

Plants could be unorthodox or forgetful
Resource Investigators might forget to follow up on a lead
Monitor Evaluators could be overly critical and slow moving...
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