Belbin’s team roles, Salvador Trinxet
Book ” Key management models”
The big idea
Belbin (1985) derived the concept of nine distinct and interdependent team roles from his study of successful and unsuccessful teams competing in business games.
According to Belbin, a team role is ‘a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way’. In order to be successful, a team and its members need to fulfil the following complementary nine roles:
Belbin states that team members with complementary roles are ‘richer’ and more successful.
When to use it
In order to make use of the model, members of a prospective team should first determine which roles they can and want to fulfil.
Each member should subsequently be assessed using the following indicators to see whether, and to what extent they can play one or more of the following nine roles:
The co-ordinator is a mature and confident person. He or she probably brings to the table experience as a chairman or leader of some kind. This person clarifies goals, encourages decision-making, and delegates tasks, but can, however, be manipulative or bossy, especially when he or she lets others do work that could and should be done by himself/herself.
The team worker is co-operative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic. In * a nutshell: everybody’s friend. The team worker listens, builds, balances, and averts friction. His or her inherent indecisiveness surfaces in crunch situations. The doers in the team tend to think the team worker talks too much.
The resource investigator is an enthusiastic, communicative extrovert who explores opportunities and develops contacts that he thinks will benefit him/her now or later. Although opportunistic and optimistic, the resource investigator tends to have a short span of attention and quickly loses interest.
The ‘plant’ is Belbin’s name for the creator or inventor. The plant is creative and imaginative, brilliant at times. His or her unorthodox thinking helps to solve difficult problems. The plant ignores incidentals and is too preoccupied to communicate effectively. The problem is that this self-aware genius has a tendency to get other team members’ backs up.
The monitor evaluates actions and ponders the strategy. The person is sober, yet discerning and keeps track of progress. He or she oversees all options and judges accurately, but lacks drive and ability to inspire others.
The specialist is a single-minded, dedicated self-starter. The specialist provides rare knowledge and skills so his/her contribution is limited to a narrow front. This person gets a kick out of technicalities and needs to be told to get to the point.
The shaper is challenging, dynamic, and thrives on pressure. He or she has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles, sees no evil, hears no evil. The shaper might rub people the wrong way in his/her zealous efforts get things going. Don’t people share the shaper’s vision?
The implementer is disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient, and turns ideas into practical actions. Once at work, the implementer will keep going and stick to the plan. This person might be a little rigid and unwilling to adapt alternative approaches or solutions along the way.
The finisher is meticulous, punctual, conscientious and anxious to make sure everything turns out perfect. The finisher delivers on time, but sometimes worries too much. He or she certainly hates to delegate work. Nobody else seems to understand that it has to be perfect.
The assessment can be done in various ways:
■ self-assessment (apply scores, rank, rate or distribute weights), possibly overseen by a third party;
■ team assessment (let the team work on a small assignment or game and let the members grade each other);
■ assessment by mentor, co-worker or supervisor, former team members, etc.
With a profile of each team member’s ability to fulfil one or more roles, potential under or overrepresentation of certain roles in the team can be detected. If necessary, management may decide to use this information to reshuffle the team.
Analysis of team members using the Belbin model is especially useful in situations where a team must be created to undertake an assignment that requires a certain set of skills and combination of roles.
Such an assessment is in itself beneficial in that it encourages individuals to take a closer look at themselves, and at their strengths and weaknesses. These can then be exploited or corrected as appropriate, ultimately resulting in a more flexible and thus stronger team.
Book title: Key management models
Author: Steven ten Have Wouter ten Have, frans Stevens and Marcel van der Elst with Fiona Pol- Coyne
Editorial: Prentive Hall , Financial Times, Activity-based costing
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Belbin’s team roles, Salvador Trinxet