The Belbin Self-Perception Inventory or the Belbin Team Role Inventory, is a test used to gain insight into an individual’s role within a team. It was developed by Dr. Meredith Belbin after studying teams at Henley Management College. This work identified 9 clusters of behaviour – each of which is termed a team-role. Each team-role has a combination of strengths and allowable weaknesses. When you complete the Belbin self-perception inventory you will receive a report of your preferences for each of the 9 Team Roles. You may find that you have 3 or 4 natural roles which you can use appropriately depending on the current situation. Very few people display characteristics of just one team role. The value of team theory lies in enabling an individual or team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust according to the demands being made by the external situation.
The Roles which individuals take in teams are outlined below:
The Plant is the teammate who comes up with strange and innovative solutions to problems. They will often retire to a private corner to work while the rest of the team deliberates and return once they have had a “Eureka moment.” The Plant bears a strong resemblance to the popular caricature of the absentminded professor-inventor, and often has a hard time communicating ideas to others.
The Resource Investigator gives a team a rush of enthusiasm at the start of the project by vigorously pursuing contacts and opportunities. They are not afraid to ask for directions, and often gets to the finish faster because of it. A good Resource Investigator is a maker of possibilities and an excellent networker. They have a tendency to lose momentum towards the end of a project.
A Coordinator often becomes the default chairperson of a team, stepping back to see the big picture. They tend to be stable and mature and assume the role of delegator. The Coordinator clarifies decisions, helping everyone else focus on their tasks. Coordinators are sometimes perceived to be overcontrolling, spending too much time on management and not enough on work.
Shapers are the hot sparks that provoke their team into action. You cannot have a reaction to a Shaper; they thrive on pressure and challenge, charging through obstacles and challenging others to do the same. In their zeal to get in motion, Shapers sometimes forget to be sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of others.
The Monitor Evaluator is a fair and evenhanded observer and judge of what is going on. Because they are good at detaching themselves from bias, they are often the ones to see all the available options with the greatest clarity. However, they can become almost machinelike, and have a hard time inspiring themselves or others to be passionate about their work.
A Teamworker makes sure that everyone in a working group is getting along. They are good listeners and diplomats, talented at smoothing over conflicts and helping parties understand each other without becoming confrontative. Because of an unwillingness to take sides, a Teamworker may not be able to take decisive action when one is needed.
The Implementer makes things happen; they have a high degree of self-discipline and can always be relied on to deliver on time. Efficient and effective, they leave you with no surprises. However, they may be seen as close-minded and inflexible since they will often have difficulty deviating from their own well-thought-out plans.
The Completer Finisher is a perfectionist. They often go the extra mile to make sure everything is “just right,” and the things they deliver can be trusted to be double-checked and then checked again. The Completer Finisher has a strong sense of duty and will complete painstaking and unpleasant tasks if they believe they will improve quality. They may frustrate their teammates by worrying excessively about minor details and refusing to delegate tasks that they do not trust anyone else to perform.
The specialist is exactly what their name implies; a person with an extremely high level of skill in one given discipline. They may bring a high level of concentration, ability, and skill in that given discipline, but can only contribute on that narrow front and is often lost or isolated in the details of their work.