Team Role Definition

The Belbin Team Role model is a way of measuring preferred behaviour when working within a team. There are no right or wrong answers, and no particular Team Role is ‘better’ than any others. The underlying idea is to understand your behavioural strengths and allowable weaknesses, and hence use them to best effect.

Belbin Team Roles measure behaviour, not personality and so can be defined as:

A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.

Dr Meredith Belbin

How did the concept originate?

Over a period of over nine years, Meredith Belbin and his team of researchers based at Henley Management College, England, studied the behaviour of managers from all over the world. Managers taking part in the study were given a battery of psychometric tests and put into teams of varying composition, in which they engaged in a complex management exercise. Their different core personality traits, intellectual styles and behaviours were assessed during the exercise.

As the research progressed, different clusters of behaviour were identified as underlying the success of the teams. These clusters of behaviour were then given descriptive names. Over time nine distinctive Team Roles were recognized. These were:

Thinking-oriented roles



Monitor Evaluator1

Monitor Evaluator



Action-oriented roles





completer finisher1

Completer Finisher

People-oriented roles





Resource Investigator1

Resource Investigator

To learn more about each of the Team Roles click here.

Balance is Key

During his research, Meredith found that each of the behaviours was essential in getting the team successfully from start to finish. The key was balance. For example, Meredith Belbin found that a team with no Plants struggled to come up with the initial spark of an idea with which to push forward. However, once too many Plants were in the team, bad ideas concealed good ones and non-starters were given too much airtime. Similarly, with no Shaper, the team ambled along without drive and direction, missing deadlines. With too many Shapers, in-fighting began and morale was lowered.

What’s Next?

Contact us to see how you can use Belbin Team Roles within your organisation, or – if you are an independent consultant – as part of your toolbox.

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