Teamwork Theory | Nine Belbin's Team Roles

Teamwork Theory

The ability to work as part of a team is one of the most important skills in today’s job market. Employers are looking for workers who can contribute their own ideas, but also want people who can work with others to create and develop projects and plans.

If you work in a team, lead a team, want ideas to make your team work better, or are looking for ways to overcome difficulties in your team, then this Nine Belbin Team Roles is for you.

What Does Teamwork Mean?

Teamwork is generally understood as the willingness of a group of people to work together to achieve a common aim. another meaning, teamwork happens when people cooperate and use their individual skills to achieve common goals.


What is a Team Role?

The term 'Team Role' refers to one of nine clusters of behavioural attributes, identified by Dr Meredith Belbin's research , as being effective in order to facilitate team progress.

Belbin’s Team Roles (1970s)

Meredith Belbin identified nine roles that people within teams tend to assume. Each role has different characteristics and ways of working; Belbin suggested that an effective team needs a good balance of all these roles. Managers can apply this theory to understand

the ways individuals in the team prefer to work, as well as using the theory to ensure there is a good balance of roles across the team.

 Role 1: Completer Finisher

Sees to it that the results are free from errors and up to the expected standards.

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.

Role 2 : Coordinator

Remains focused on the goal, knows how to assign work, and delegate tasks to the right team members.

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.

 Role 3 : Implementer

A practical thinker who’s able to plan and carry out effective strategies.

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.

Role 4 : Monitor Evaluator

Makes unbiased judgments and assesses the team’s effort from a logical standpoint.

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.

Role 5 : Plant

Thinks outside the box and generates ideas.

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.

 Role 6 : Resource Investigator

Checks out external resources and sifts through existing solutions to bring the best ones 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.

 Role 7 : Shaper

Drives the team and makes sure things keep moving forward.

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.

 Role 8 : Specialist

Brings in the necessary technical expertise.

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.

 Role 9 : Team worker

Identifies what needs to be done and completes the tasks on behalf of or in cooperation with the other team members.

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.



 Using Belbin’s Team Roles can give individuals a greater understanding of their strengths, which leads to more effective communication in the team. Managers can put together great teams, enhance the performance of existing ones, and ensure that everyone feels that they are making a difference in the workplace.

The nine Belbin’s Team Roles are:

1-      Resource Investigator

2-       Team worker

3-      Coordinator (the Social roles)

4-      Plant

5-      Monitor Evaluator

6-      Specialist (the Thinking Evaluator)

7-      Shaper

8-      Implementer

9-      Completer Finisher (the Action or Task roles).


Further reading :

-  Dr Meredith Belbin Team Roles

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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