2.1 Team Roles

Belbin Team Types
Video – Explanation from Dr. Belbin



Whether in the workplace, or in sports, or amongst members of a community, effective teamwork can produce extraordinary results. However, that is easier said than done, for, effective teamwork does not happen automatically. There are a number of factors that are required to come together, working seamlessly, for an effective team to develop and work. So, what makes an effective team?

Understanding team roles can help create an effective team, for a team to work effectively everybody needs to have a role. This may be a formal set up or it may just be knowing each other’s strengths and how you interact together best. If everyone is trying to be the leader or arguing over what they want to do, then nothing will actually get done. Nobody’s job in a team is less important as they all contribute to the overall success but allocating roles will help the team function successfully.



Dr. Meredith Belbin, of the Industrial Training Research Unit at Cambridge developed an understanding of how teams work, and how to make them work better. Belbin’s perception is that all members of a management team have a dual role. The first role, the functional one, is obvious: a manager belongs to the team because he is an accountant or production engineer or regional service manager or group marketing executive, or whatever. The second role, the team role, is much less obvious.

Through extensive research at Henley Management College Belbin isolated and identified eight key roles as the ones available to team members. Over the years of his research, first at Henley and subsequently within the real business world extending from Britain to Australia, Dr. Belbin and his colleagues learned to recognise individuals who made a crucial difference to teams and to whose team types he gave descriptive names.

The reason for these names is not always obvious, and the names themselves are sometimes a little misleading. When using them it is the descriptions, not their labels, which are important.

Here are the eight Belbin team types:



Resource Investigator





Team Builder

Team Implementer


Monitor Evaluator

Completer Finisher

Action oriented roles
Shaper, Team Implementer and Completer

People oriented roles
Co-ordinator, Teamworker and Resource

Cerebral roles
Plant, Monitor Evaluator

Knowing your preferred or strongest team role can be of great benefit to both yourself and an employer, employers are greatly aware of the benefits teamwork can bring to a business and the problems which can arise if a team does not have the proper balance. Information like this is good to know when completing application forms or CV/resumes, you will most likely be asked to explain how you work in a team at interview stage.

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