Dr Meredith Belbin said that, in an ideal world, every team needs to have a mixture of people undertaking different roles.
It’s true: where would a team be if it had ten leaders and no doers?
Well, probably exactly where they started, ‘cos they’ll all be arguing and trying to impose their will on the others and because they’re all leaders they just won’t let any one else tell them what to do, so there!
So, a team needs different people to fulfill different roles for it to be successful.
Belbin identified nine roles that have to be filled in a team:
- Plant: innovators and inventors who are creative. Their role is to generate proposals and solve complex problems
- Resource Investigators: enthusiastic, quick off the mark extroverts. They explore and report back on ideas and resources outside the group… they like Google
- Monitor Evaluators: The police. They analyse and weigh up pros and cons. They also make sure things are on track and can be seen as serious, with little ‘bend’
- Co-Ordinators: Guess what they do? Yep, they get people to work towards shared goals. They work better with people of similar rank, rather than ‘juniors’
- Shapers: Oh boy! Full of nervous energy, they tend to throw in a firework. Just when things seem to running smoothly they challenge everything and upset the apple cart
- Implementers: These are reliable people with a capacity for application and doing. They are efficient and resourceful
- Team Workers: They are supportive and help others achieve. Their principle role in the team is to prevent interpersonal problems
- Completer Finishers: These are the detail freaks (from my language you can tell I’m not one of these). They follow through on detail and make sure tasks are completed
- Specialists: They have technical skills and/or specialist knowledge. They tend to be the people the business is built on – or at least when the teams sets out they are
So, nine team roles and you’ll notice that they don’t say things like ‘leader’. That’s because each role can feasibly be the leader of the team, but you have to recognise that each has strengths and weaknesses.
In a small team one person may have to fulfil more than one role and sometimes take on roles that are unfamiliar to them. That’s what’s happening in our team at the moment – we’ve just put everyone through the questionnaire.
Actually we came out pretty balanced, although we are missing an ‘ideas’ person: we could do with a Plant!
As for me… well, my top role is a Monitor Evaluator and next I’m an implementer.
Not sure what that tells you… but that’s what I am!