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Belbin Team Roles – A Quick Review of a Familiar Model

TeamWhat is Belbin?

Belbin provides managers and leaders with tools that enable them to make decisions involving their people and their teams.

Much of an organisation’s success is dependent on people’s ability to work well together as a team. When a team functions in a synergistic and effective way, the sum of the team is more than its parts. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, productivity increases and errors are reduced.

An individual’s ability to work in a team isn’t related to their own skills and abilities in the workplace. Teamwork is a valuable skill in itself – one that can be learned by individuals and facilitated by team leaders.

Whereas successful teams have a measurably positive impact on an organisation, exactly the opposite is seen where teams fail to work well together. Poor communication, unclear roles, duplication of effort and poor morale can all form poor team structure. Ultimately, this creates negative implications for the individuals, the teams and the organisation as a whole. Productivity, cost and performance all suffer when teams fail. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you get it right!

The History of Belbin

During the 1970s, a team of researchers, led by Dr Meredith Belbin, studied the dynamics of different teams. They looked at the issues and differences of how these teams worked, and ways in which any problems could be foreseen and avoided.

Over a period of nine years, their studies showed that the success of a team is not dependent on factors like the individual team member’s intellect or capability. They found, instead, an individual’s behaviour in their designated role was the crucial factor. They defined Team Roles as, “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.โ€

Over time, through continual study, they defined nine clear Belbin Team Roles. Each Belbin Team Role is equally important and each is necessary for the success of the team as a whole.

The Concepts of Belbin

The Belbin model provides a clear and positive method of identifying specific individuals for suitable Belbin Team Roles. It also teaches us how to effectively communicate the concepts and methods of working that are required. This enables team members to work together more effectively and with a greater understanding.

Using behavioural testing, Belbin enables the identification of nine Belbin Team Roles, categorised into three groups: Thinking Orientated, Action Orientated and People Orientated. The Belbin Team Roles are:

Thinking Orientated

Monitor Evaluator



Action Orientated



Completer Finisher

People Orientated


Resource Investigator

Team Worker

Each role is credited not only with their strengths, but also their allowable weaknesses.

Belbin states that “there are no good or bad Team Roles”. Every team needs the right mix of people โ€“ each with their own unique and valuable contributions to make.

Who Uses Belbin and Why?

Belbin can be used by individuals who wish to understand their strengths and potential contributions to a successful team. Identifying our Belbin Team Role enables us to maximise our advantages and take appropriate steps to manage our weaknesses.

Teams themselves benefit from adopting the Belbin method. Belbin Team Role knowledge enables them to understand each individual’s value, identify who should be doing what and pre-empt any likely shortcomings, as well as providing solutions for dealing with them.

Managers, leaders, trainers and consultants use Belbin to establish critical methodologies to get the most out of their staff. An ongoing approach using the Belbin model and Belbin Team Roles has been shown to increase productivity and performance, whilst reducing overall costs.

Using Belbin in Your Organisation

Belbin is used successfully by thousands of organisations worldwide. It’s easy to implement, intuitive and simple to maintain. Belbin is adaptable to a wide range of applications and can be tailored to suit very specific organisation’s requirements.

If you’re looking to get the best out of your teams, improve each individual’s performance and increase productivity โ€“ Belbin will provide you with the tools you need. Belbin addresses many of the common issues that hold organisations back. By undertaking professional training in the application and practicalities of this approach, you’ll find that moving your team to the next level is a straightforward solution.

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