Dr Meredith Belbin defines a ‘Team Role’ as one of nine clusters of behavioural attributes identified by his research at Henley as being effective in order to facilitate team progress.
It is described as a way on how we interact, corelate and co-operate with others when we work in a team.
Meredith Belbin’s research showed that the most successful teams were made up of a diverse mix of behaviours. To build high-performing teams, we need to represent each of the nine Belbin Team Role behaviours at the appropriate times.
Each of the behavioural clusters has its strengths and, we call it allowable weaknesses.
The nine Belbin Team Roles are:
Uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team.
Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. Explores opportunities and develops contacts.
Allowable weaknesses: Might be over-optimistic and can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
Helps the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens and averts friction.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be indecisive in crunch situations and tends to avoid confrontation.
Needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent. Clarifies goals.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be seen as manipulative and might offload their own share of the work.
Tends to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
Strengths: Creative, imaginative, free-thinking, generates ideas and solves difficult problems.
Allowable weaknesses: Might ignore incidentals and may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
Provides a logical eye, making impartial judgements where required and weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all options and judges accurately.
Allowable weaknesses: Sometimes lacks the drive and ability to inspire others and can be overly critical.
Brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
Strengths: Single-minded, self-starting and dedicated. They provide specialist knowledge and skills.
Allowable weaknesses: Tends to contribute on a narrow front and can dwell on the technicalities.
Provides the necessary drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
Strengths: Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be prone to provocation and may sometimes offend people’s feelings.
Needed to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
Strengths: Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organises work that needs to be done.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be a bit inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.
Most effectively used at the end of tasks to polish and scrutinise the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
Strengths: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors. Polishes and perfects.
Allowable weaknesses: Can be inclined to worry unduly, and reluctant to delegate.
How to find your Belbin Team Role strengths and weaknesses?
The only way of finding out your Belbin® Team Role strengths and weaknesses is by completing the official Belbin® Self-Perception Inventory online and receiving a Belbin® Individual report. We then recommend that you ask for feedback from people you work with, using the Observer Assessment. This gives you an updated Belbin Individual report which gives you an insight into which Team Role behaviors others see and value.
Article written by Vladimir Dordevic, Business Developer and Consultant at Belbin Malta and Belbin Sweden AB. He can be contacted at [email protected].