Belbin have identified nine different clusters of behaviour that are displayed in the workplace. These are called the nine Belbin Team Roles.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They might forget to follow up on a lead.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They might be hesitant to make unpopular decisions.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They might over-delegate, leaving themselves little work to do.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They could be absent-minded or forgetful.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They could be slow to come to decisions.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They overload you with information.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They could risk becoming aggressive and bad-humoured in their attempts to get things done.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They might be slow to relinquish their plans in favour of positive changes.
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.
Don't be surprised to find that: They could be accused of taking their perfectionism to extremes.
This doesn't mean that every team requires nine people! Most people will have two or three Team Roles that they are most comfortable with.
There are no good or bad Team Roles. Each Team Role has it's strengths and weaknesses, and each has equal importance. However, not all are required at the same time - it is important to first look at the team objectives, and work out which tasks need to be undertaken. Once this has been done, discussions can take place regarding which and when each Team Role behaviour should be utlised.
None of this is possible without an individual completing a Belbin Self-Perception Inventory and asking for feedback from their collegues. The Belbin Report that is produced will help pin-point indivdual strengths to communicate and share with the rest of the team.
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Occasionally, an individual’s behaviour can have a disproportionate effect on the team. Sometimes this effect is a positive one, but we tend to be involved when the effect is detrimental to the team.
A paper written by Belbin Accredited Nel Mostert, and published in the Journal of Creativity and Business Innovation in 2015, is an excellent resource for understanding how Belbin Team Roles can help.
Have a look at our guide to how the Team Roles might approach pumpkin carving this Halloween...