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Dr Meredith Belbin developed his team roles theory at Henley Management Centre in the late 1970's.

Analysing what made teams successful using a range of management games Belbin identified nine team roles that can be combined to express a personal team role preference.  

Title

Strength

Weakness

Type

Plant

Creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Solver of more difficult problems.

May ignore incidentals and get too immersed to communicate effectively

Cerebral

Resource Investigator

Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities and networks with others

May be over optimistic and losing interest when initial enthusiasms worn off

People

Co-ordinator

Clarifies mature, confident and natural chairperson. Sets goals, promotes decisions and delegates effectively

May be seen as manipulative and controlling. Can over delegate off loading personal work

People

Shaper

Challenging, dynamic, thrives under pressure. Jumps hurdles using determination and courage

May be easily provoked and ignorant of the feelings of others

Action

Monitor Evaluator

Even tempered, strategic and discerning. Sees many options and judges well

May lack drive and inspiring leadership qualities

Cerebral

Team Worker

Co-operative, relationship focused, sensitive and diplomatic.  Good listener whom builds relationships and dislikes confrontations

However can seem indecisive in a crisis

People

Implementer

Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Acts upon ideas

May seem inflexible and slow to see new opportunities

Action

Completer-Finisher

Conscientious and anxious to get jobs done. With an eye for detail, good at searching out errors. Finishes and generally delivers on time

May be a worrier and reluctant to delegate

Action

 

Specialist

Single minded self starter. Dedicated and provides specialist knowledge. The rarer the supplier of this knowledge, said Belbin, the more dedicated the specialist

May be stuck in their niche with little interest in the world outside it dwelling upon technicalities. 

Cerebral

Interpretation

 

Like many metrics / tools, it's important to not overly depend upon ideas or models of ‘ideal' team structure - this represents one of many dimensions important in getting teams to perform.

Knowing Belbin's team roles can be useful in bringing greater harmony to teams but this is one of a range of team dimensions to evaluate.