R. Meredith Belbin identified nine ways people work together in teams known as Belbin’s team roles. Understanding these types will help you build and lead better teams.
LEADING A TEAM
While people can have characteristics from different categories, one style is always the dominant one. To manage teams effectively, you need to identify and understand the style each person uses.
Knowing the type of person each team member is will help you to build a better team, and get the most out of when to challenge and when to hold back. This insight enables you to know what type of support to offer, as well as knowing how to avoid conflict or manage it effectively should it arise.
BELBIN’S NINE TEAM ROLES
Belbin suggests that, by understanding your role within a particular team, you can develop your strengths and manage your weaknesses as a team member, and so improve how you contribute to the team.
The principles of Belbin’s team roles also applies to team leaders and team development practitioners who can use the Belbin model to help create more balanced teams. Further, you can have a look at principles of motivation for your team.
Teams can become unbalanced if all team members have similar styles of behavior or team roles. If team members have similar weaknesses, the team as a whole may tend to have that weakness. If team members have similar team-work strengths, they may tend to compete (rather than cooperate) for the team tasks and responsibilities that best suit their natural styles.
Knowing this, you can use the model with your team to help ensure that necessary team roles are covered and that potential behavioral tensions or weaknesses among the team member are addressed. The nine-team roles are listed below:
1. RESOURCE INVESTIGATOR
Uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team.
Weakness: Over-optimistic and positive, rather than realistic or resilient. This can mean that they lose interest after their initial enthusiasm.
Helps the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
Weakness: A key weakness is an indecision in crunch situations, including those scenarios where there is no ‘right’ way forward.
Needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
Weakness: Too much delegation and coordination of others can be seen as manipulative, and they can sometimes be perceived as offloading work.
They are highly creative and good at problem-solving in unconventional ways.
Weakness: A tendency to ignore details and become too preoccupied or focused on one issue, hindering communication and collaboration.
5. MONITOR EVALUATOR
Provides a logical eye, making impartial judgments where required and weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
Weakness: An ability to monitor, evaluate and assess is not always dynamic, and their weaknesses can include a lack of drive and ability to inspire others.
Brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
Weakness: The specialist’s weakness is their tendency to concentrate on technicalities and they may only contribute in a single narrow area.
Provides the necessary drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
Weakness: Prone to provocation, and may risk offending team-members’ feelings with their focus on action and results (rather than people).
Needed to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
Weakness: Can slow down teamworking by being inflexible or slow to respond to new options.
9. COMPLETER – FINISHER
Most effectively used at the end of tasks to polish and scrutinize the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
Weakness: Completer finishers can worry unnecessarily or excessively and sometimes be reluctant to delegate.