Originating from research at the Henley Management College in the UK, Dr Meredith Belbin’s work shows how the performance of a team is directly affected by the roles that people play in it and the combination of the available roles in a team. He originally distinguished between eight roles:

  • Chairman (also called co-ordinator) – the mature and confident person who enables others to give of their best and keeps the team oriented towards its goals and who is rarely the source of ideas.
  • Shaper – the tops-down leader, energetic, challenging and pressurising, who drives his or her ideas to conclusion.
  • Plant – the creative and unorthodox problem solver, probably not very good with people.
  • Teamworker – interpersonally perceptive and caring who enables individuals to work together but who may be indecisive under pressure.
  • Completer-Finisher – the rules person who dots the i’s and crosses the t’s and will not give up until the job is satisfactorily completed and who may be a worrier.
  • Company worker – who implements, gets things done to meet goals and who may be somewhat inflexible.
  • Resource investigator – who is out and about, seeking new ideas and exploring opportunities and who may become bored with routine.
  • Monitor-Evaluator – who is judgmental, looking for faults and seeking to prevent errors but who may not inspire others.

Belbin later added a ninth role, that of Specialist – single minded and dedicated who has unique knowledge but whose contributions are limited to that knowledge.

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