It was devised by Meredith Belbin to measure preference for nine Team Roles; he had identified eight of these whilst studying numerous teams at Henley Management College. The Inventory assesses how an individual behaves in a team environment. The assessment includes degree feedback from observers as well as the individual's own evaluation of their behaviour, and contrasts how they see their behaviour with how their colleagues do. Belbin himself asserts that the Team Roles are not equivalent to personality types , and that unlike the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator , which is a psychometric instrument used to sort people into one of 16 personality types, the Belbin Inventory scores people on how strongly they express behavioural traits from nine different Team Roles. A person may and often does exhibit strong tendencies towards multiple roles. Belbin first began studying teams at Henley Management College in the s.
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Developed by Meredith Belbin in , following nine years of study and has become one of the most accessible and widely used tools to support team building.
The team roles were designed to define and predict potential success of management teams, recognising that the strongest teams have a diversity of characters and personality types.
Has been criticised due to it's potential oversimplification and 'pigeon-holing' of individuals. However, when used wisely to gain insight about the working of the team and identify the team strengths and weaknesses it can be extremely useful.
Belbin describes a team role as "a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way. The 9 team roles are summarised in the table below. The team roles describe a pattern of behaviour that characterises one person's behaviour in relationship to another in facilitating the progress of a team. This approach enables an individual or team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust behaviour according to the demands being made by the external situation.
An individual's team role is established through a 'Self Perception Inventory', a questionnaire designed to establish your preferred way of working in a team environment. This can be supported through the inclusion of 'observer assessments' which provide independent evidence about an individual's team roles. The assessments are available either online or via Belbin's book. It should always be remembered that the tool helps to describe an individual's 'preferred' team roles and is designed to indicate how you would ideally operate in a team environment.
Strength in one team role is often at the expense of what might be seen as a weakness in another context. An ideal team should ideally have a healthy balance of all 9 team roles. Strong teams normally have a strong co-ordinator, a plant, a monitor evaluator and one or more implementers, team workers, resource investigators or completer finishers. A shaper should be an alternative to a co-ordinator rather than having both.
In practice, the ideal is rarely the case, and it can be beneficial for a team to know which of the team roles are either over represented or absent and to understand individual's secondary roles. Team roles tend to develop and mature and may change with experience and conscious attention. If a role is absent from the team, then it is often filled by someone who has not recognised this role as a dominant one. The team should share their team roles to increase understanding and enable mutual expectations to be met.
Research at Cambridge. Toggle navigation Toggle navigation. Design Management. Belbin's team roles An effective way to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of a team. Helps the team to understand ways in which it could improve performance. Assessment of team role The team roles describe a pattern of behaviour that characterises one person's behaviour in relationship to another in facilitating the progress of a team.
Use of the team roles It should always be remembered that the tool helps to describe an individual's 'preferred' team roles and is designed to indicate how you would ideally operate in a team environment. Further information Belbin, R. Department of Engineering.
Team Role Inventories
Great teams start with Belbin! Belbin Team Roles is the language of teams, enabling individuals to be able to project and talk about their behavioural strengths in a productive, safe and non-confrontational way. By using Belbin, individuals have a greater self-understanding of their strengths, which leads to more effective communication between colleagues and managers. Great teams can be put together, existing teams can be understood and improved, and everyone can feel that they are making a difference in the workplace. Belbin Team Roles have been the language of successful teams for over 30 years. Join one of our free webinars to find out how you can apply Belbin with your team, department and organisation.
The Nine Belbin Team Roles
Dr Meredith Belbin and his team discovered that there are nine clusters of behaviour - these were called ' Belbin Team Roles' see descriptions below. Each team needs access to each of the nine Belbin Team Role behaviours to become a high performing team. However, this doesn't mean that every team requires nine people! Most people will have two or three Belbin Team Roles that they are most comfortable with, and this can change over time. However, not all are always required at the same time - it is important to first look at the team objectives, and work out which tasks need to be undertaken.
Team roles test