What are Belbin's team roles? Uncover the theory and core principles of these categories.

June 14, 2023

    Belbin's team roles

    What are Belbin's team roles?

    Belbin's team roles is a concept that offers insights into how individuals function within a group setting. Developed by Dr. Meredith Belbin, a British researcher, this theory emphasises the importance of understanding and utilising different strengths and skill sets in a team environment. The goal is to achieve higher levels of productivity and efficiency through effective collaboration and communication among team members.

    What is the theory and core principles behind Belbin's team roles?

    The core principle of Belbin's nine team roles is that individuals have a natural tendency to behave, contribute and interact with others in a specific way. These characteristics affect team composition and success.

    The Belbin model classifies team member behaviour into nine distinct roles that are needed for a well-functioning group. Each team role complements the others, working together to accomplish goals.

    By understanding and utilising the different team roles, managers and team members can create stronger, more effective teams. The key aspects of the Belbin team role theory are as follows:

    • Recognising individual strengths and weaknesses for appropriate team role allocation
    • Ensuring a balanced team composition with a mix of relevant roles
    • Enhancing communication and collaboration for improved results

    What are the nine Belbin team roles?

    The Belbin team roles are divided into categories based on an individual's behaviour, preferences, and abilities. These roles are:

    • Coordinator: Brings focus and clarity to team goals, while delegating tasks appropriately

    • Monitor Evaluator: Provides critical analysis and unbiased judgement, helping the team make informed decisions

    • Implementer: Translates team ideas into practical actions and brings a systematic, disciplined approach to tasks

    • Plant: Generates creative ideas, solving complex problems through innovative thinking

    • Teamworker: Encourages cooperation and supports team members, often acting as the glue that holds the group together

    • Completer Finisher: Ensures high-quality outputs, focusing on detail and polishing the team's work

    • Resource Investigator: Explores new opportunities, engaging resources and contacts for the team's benefit

    • Shaper: Drives the team forward, providing energy and direction when faced with challenges or obstacles

    • Specialist: Contributes unique expertise and in-depth knowledge, playing an essential role in specialised areas

    Each person may demonstrate multiple team roles, but their preferences lie in one or two dominant areas. By understanding these roles, teams can achieve balance, optimise performance and tackle challenges effectively.

    How can Belbin’s team roles impact the workplace?

    Enhancing team performance

    • Belbin's team roles theory comprises different roles within a team, leading to optimal performance. Teams with diverse, complementary roles create innovative solutions and maintain high performance. Clear expectations, communication, and coordination become easier with balanced team roles.

    Resolving conflict

    • The Belbin's team role model helps teams resolve conflicts, as all team members understand their roles and responsibilities. It highlights thought-oriented, people-oriented, and action-oriented roles, fostering an atmosphere with mutual respect and understanding.

    Developing people skills

    • Belbin's approach emphasises developing people, with team roles motivating individuals to focus on their strengths and fill skills gaps. This increases job satisfaction and allows teams to grow.

    Organisational benefits

    Organisations using Belbin's team roles experience improved team building, clear communication, and a productive workplace. Additionally, the model promotes

    • Enhanced problem solving
    • Common sense and accuracy in decision making
    • Efficient allocation of tasks
    • Increased employee engagement


    Role theory in team building highlights the importance of understanding each team member's natural role preferences. It helps in forming balanced teams, distributing tasks effectively, and motivating employees to perform in their areas of strength.

    Belbin's team roles theory offers significant benefits to organisations and teams, ensuring optimal team performance, conflict resolution, and skills development.

    This post was written by: Alicia Edwards, Digital Marketing Assistant