Objective   To act as a prime source of innovation and ideas for the team.


Creative and inventive individuals, Plants are the ones in the team most likely to come up with new ideas and suggestions. The name comes from Dr Belbin’s original research. It was discovered that there was no initial spark of an idea in a team unless a creative person was “planted” in each team.

Plants can tackle complex problems in new and interesting ways – they’re lateral thinkers who can provide imaginative and original lines of thought when the team is stuck for ideas. As a result, they need to be given the space and time to think, producing ideas the team can put to good use.

Plants are not always appreciated in very structured organizations, because their way of thinking can cause disruption and change the way things are done. But that’s what makes them essential. It is the Plant who offers the germ of an idea which can lead to success, and without this, teams can stagnate.

Potential weaknesses

When they’re preoccupied with whatever they’re working on, they can be unaware of what is going on elsewhere in the team. They’re one of the Team Roles who can seem at

a distance from the rest of the team, off in their own little world, and may have difficulties communicating with others in the team who do not see things the same way they do.

Because of their original way of thinking, Plants’ ideas may be radical and lacking practicalities. In addition, they might focus on an idea that interests them, rather than the one that meets the team’s requirements. This is why they must depend on others in the team to evaluate their ideas and put them into practice. But it isn’t always plain sailing. Plants can reject criticism or take offence if their chosen idea is not taken on by the rest of the team.

Too many Plants in a team can cause problems too, because each person will be more concerned with their own ideas, rather than working with others to bring one idea to fruition.

Non-negotiable weaknesses

Whilst Plants are bound to want to take ownership of their ideas, this can be taken too far. Plants shouldn’t be allowed to try and take over, when collaboration with others would offer better results for the team.

Team Role compatibility

Plants are best managed by a Co-ordinator who can make best use of their talents and help keep their ideas in line with the team’s needs. As managers, Plants work well when supported by a Monitor Evaluator, whom they can use as a sounding board, or an Implementer, who can transform their ideas into practical action.

How to handle


Give them time and space to be creative. Listen to their ideas and encourage them to explain them.


Impose too many restrictions, or be overly critical before they’ve had the chance to explore an idea fully.

Optimum working environment

Plants need space and time to think. They can struggle with bureaucracy and find very structured workplaces too restrictive.

Everything starts with you. Discover your own Belbin Team Role profile today...  

Find out Individual and Team strengths using Belbin Team Role Reports

Belbin Individual Reports

Before you can analyse your teams, you need to look at each individual's contribution. So, the first thing you will need to do is to generate a Belbin Individual Report for each member of the team.

Find out more

Belbin Team Reports

Whether you're forming a new team, introducing new people to an existing team, or trying to resolve issues within a team, a Belbin Team Report can help you to manage it.

Discover more

Working from home?

Finding out and using your Belbin Team Role strengths is critical when working remotely. Download our guides and articles to help you manage yourself and your teams.


Keep in touch

By submitting this form I understand that Belbin UK/Belbin Worldwide will share news and information with me via email. We will never share your details with third parties.

Belbin Training and Workshops

A Practical Day of Belbin

11 Sep 2020

A (socially distanced) hands-on day to help you understand how to use Belbin - to help you, your managers, teams and organisation!

Book Now

Team Workshops

We can facilitate bespoke Belbin workshops (face to face and virtual) for you at all levels from board to new recruits.

Discover more

Online Belbin Team Role Accreditation

Belbin Accreditation is recommended for anyone who wants to use Belbin Team Roles to improve the performance of teams, and maximise working relationships.

Become Accredited

From the Blog

Catch up on the latest from the Belbin blog.

Read More

06 Aug 2020

10 surprising things that teams need

We hear a lot about what teams need for high performance. Purpose, accountability, balance… But how does conventional wisdom stack up against the evidence?

06 Aug 2020

Back at my desk

Victoria is back in the office! Read her thoughts on being on furlough, how she feels about coming back, and the opportunities for the future.

07 Jul 2020

A Belbin Team Role Guide to Managing Your Team When No-one Is In The Office...

We've been WFH for a while now. We may have the tech in place and feel we know what we're doing, but managing virtual working is much more than Zoom meetings. The language of Belbin can help.