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By Liz Scott

Using the Belbin Team Roles theory is a dream when working with teams. It’s simple to use and very easy to understand. Belbin is a non-threatening way to look at strengths and weaknesses.
The Benefits of Belbin

After using Belbin teams appreciate the different strengths within the team. Rather than seeing some roles as 'better' than others, participants realise that differing strengths are needed to make up the team.

The best results are generated when you use an accreditated Belbin facilitator. The facilitator will explain the reports, run the event and answer questions.

Team weaknesses

Team members also become more understanding of other peoples' weaknesses. Instead of seeing them as flaws, they recognise these traits as unavoidable parts of a persons' character.

A strength often has a flip side. With a strength you also get a weakness. This understanding leads to better relationships. Instead of blame there is acceptance.

How the Belbin theory developed

Meredith Belbin devised his theory after years of research at Cambridge University. Examining different teams and evaluating their successes he began to develop his team role theory.

It took years of number crunching and observation. He eventually identified nine team roles that combine to make a well balanced team.

What's the team role theory?

The nine roles comprise of different character traits. We inherently know that teams need different qualities. We can't all be goal-keepers or all strikers.

Equally it's best to play people to their strengths. There's no point putting an excellent striker in goal. Teams work best when people are engaged in their forte.

Don't focus on weakness

Often team members lament their area of weakness. They consider how to develop this area. However it can be a mistake investing huge amounts of energy in developing weaknesses. Imagine you've got someone on your team who is great at coming up with ideas but not so good at planning and organising. Surely it's best to use your ideas person to their strength. Sending them on training courses to improve their planning and organising skills won't be money well spent.

The Belbin method does not pigeon-holed people for life. It does however recognise natural strengths and plays people to those strengths.

What are the Belbin team roles?

The team roles are Shaper, Co-ordinator, Resource Investigator, Plant, Team Worker, Implementer, Specialist, Completer Finisher and Monitor Evaluator. Here's a short synopsis of each team role.

Plant – The creative ideas person who's often great at solving difficult problems.
Resource Investigator – The social, extrovert networker. This person's great at making contacts.
Co-ordinator – A mature, level headed person who's great at delegating.
Shaper – A challenging, dynamic and driven person.
Monitor Evaluator – The person who's good at looking at all the evidence, weighing it up and making considered and accurate decisions.
Teamworker – The diplomatic, co-operative person. A good listener who averts friction.
Implementer – A practical, methodical worker. Great and planning and turning ideas into actions.
Completer Finisher – Perfectionist who searches out errors and emissions.
Specialist – Expert in their field and very single minded.
Provides expert knowledge and skills

Using Belbin most effectively

If you’re looking to utilise Belbin effectively then either
  • Use a trained facilitator
  • Or become trained as a Belbin Facilitator
The course is a great CPD opportunity and Belbin has real credibility in organisations.

If you'd like to see a 'dummy' Belbin report then email Liz and she'll send you one to look at.

about the author
Liz Scott is an accredited Belbin Facilitator. She has used Belbin in various departments with Devon and Cornwall Police, South Wales Police and Victim Support. Liz runs Liz Scott Coaching and Training and is a co-founder of Coaching Connect

more info
For more information contact Liz Scott.

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