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In the words of Dr Meredith Belbin, a Team Role is “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way. ” The concept originated in a study conducted at the Henley Management College in the UK. The Belbin Team Role model has become the de-facto standard since then and is used by approximately 40% of the largest 100 companies in the UK, along with international organizations such as the World Bank and the UN.
Dr Belbin found that the difference in success and failure for any specific team did not depend on intellect, but was more linked to individual behaviors. Dr Belbin and his fellow researchers were able to identify eight distinct Team Roles that are as follows
Plants are the promoters, innovators, and the inventors in the Team. Plants are fairly introverted, highly sensitive to both constructive criticism and praise and tend to work independently. Plants can be relied upon to question the norm and provide an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution to a complex business problem. Plants are invaluable in the initial stages or when the project runs into a bottleneck. However, many PL’s in a single Team could become problematic as each would try to reinforce their own idea, leading to potential conflict and disagreement. Resource Investigator Resource Investigators are the go-getters of the team. Naturally extroverts, they have no trouble communicating with both internal stakeholders as well as customers. While Resource Investigators may not be the best at conception, their talent lies in honing their team member’s idea and effectively promoting it. The RI is well-suited to negotiating as they can think on their feet and probe others to extract the necessary information. However, their initial enthusiasm can fade rapidly and they may require external stimulation.
A Co-Ordinator is able to help Team members work towards achieving the shared goal and is confident and trusting, making it easy for them to delegate responsibility. A Co-Ordinator can spot individual talents and exploit them to pursue the common objective. Co-Ordinator’s have a broad perspective and outlook and perform better with colleagues of an equal or near rank, as opposed to working with juniors. The Co-Ordinator often has a laser-like focus on the goal, setting them up for potential clashes with Shapers.
Shapers always have their eye on the goal and are filled with zest. Shapers are unafraid to push the Team to the very limit and can even overcome challenging obstacles through sheer grit. Shapers have a direct style of management, are assertive, and seldom take defeat well. Shapers progress rapidly in an organization because their management style is perfect for getting the desired result in the shortest timeframe. Shapers can be considered argumentative or even aggressive, making them thrive in crunch situations with tight deadlines.
Monitor-Evaluators are prudent individuals who err on the side of caution. Monitor Evaluators cannot be rushed into decision making and will take their time to weigh all options carefully before making the final choice. Monitor Evaluators are critical thinkers with a natural intuition for taking all aspects into consideration. A Monitor Evaluator is more comfortable dealing with logic and facts as opposed to intuition and emotion and can be regarded as overly critical. Monitor Evaluators can do very well in managerial positions as their innate ability of careful analysis makes them highly sought after.
Implementers are practical, self-controlled, and disciplined individuals. An Implementer is a hard worker who is willing to accomplish a task in the prescribed way. Implementers are loyal workers that rarely deviate from the established norm. An Implementer is unlikely to prioritize self-interest over the common goal. An Implementer attains professional success because of their practicality, sensibility, and because they never shy away from doing what is necessary – even if it is not to their liking.
A Teamworker is a mild-manner individual who has a great deal of empathy for other members in the Team. A Teamworker is able to seamlessly adapt to unfamiliar situations and different people. A Teamworker is perceptive, a good listener, and a diplomat extraordinaire, making them very popular amongst colleagues. A Teamworker goes out of their way to promote harmony and avoid disagreement, making them indecisive in a managerial role. Nonetheless, a Teamworker can rise to senior positions in an organization as they have few enemies and listen attentively to others’ views.
A Completer-Finisher strives for absolute perfection and is renowned for attention to detail. A Completer- Finisher does not require external stimulation and can complete the deliverables within the allotted time and by adhering to the expected standard. Completer – Finishers re reluctant to delegate responsibility, preferring to accomplish a given task themselves. The Completer-Finisher is key where precision and close concentration are essential. A Completer-Finisher also expects the same level of performance from their colleagues, creating their own bubble where nothing less than complete excellence is expected.
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