Belbin team role inventory

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Belbin team role inventory
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Belbin Team Role Inventory, also called the Belbin Team Inventory or the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory, is an method for assessment of an individual's behaviour and role which he/she plays in a team. The Belbin Team Role Theory was invented by Meredith Belbin. He described the 9 Team Roles when he was doing a research why some teams succeed and others fails. Belbin's personality test discovers team role preferences, for the purposes of personal development, team building and recruitment in many organizations. It finds out what a person prefers to do when he is in a team and how everyone else sees that person. The outcome of that personal skill investigation is a profile, a team role, that shows which of the 9 team roles is currently the strongest for an individual.

Team Roles

Each Team Role brings an important contribution to a team, and each is associated with particular strengths and typical weaknesses, called by Belbin "allowable" weaknesses. Belbin identified and categorized the nine clusters of behaviour into three groups:

  • Action Oriented
  • People Oriented
  • Thought Oriented

Action Oriented Roles

Shapers (SH)

Shapers are dynamic and outgoing people who like to lead and stimulate others. They are highly strung and usually extroverted, therefore they like to challenge a team to improve, and find the best approach to problems. If obstacles occur, SHs find the way to solve them. Assertive and motivated, they feel a great need for achievement and to win a competition. SHs are usually good managers, who effectively stimulate people and cause a positive action. "Shaper" stands for a person who imposes a shape on a group discussion and likes to lead a team to the aimed goals.

Although SHs seem to be the most effective members of a team, they are prone to provocation and have a tendency to insult others.

Implementer (IMP)

Implementers are people who like to put plans into practice. They are very well organized, disciplined rationalists who work systematically to finish their job. Usually IMPs are conservative and enjoy routine. Those virtues, hard working, common sense and self-discipline lead them very often to high management positions.

Although IMPs can reveal lack of flexibility and resistance to change, they are usually reliable and devoted team members.

Completer - Finisher (CF)

Completer-Finishers are diligent, hard working and very precise people, who care that projects are completed painstakingly and to the very end. They are perfectionists who pay attention to the smallest of details and do not allow any error to happen. The biggest concern of CFs is to finish a task on time and to deliver the highest work standard, therefore their accuracy and inner-motivation are invaluable traits at meeting schedules.

Nevertheless, Completer-Finishers have a tendency to worry unnecessarily about small things and they find it hard to "let go". They are also reluctant to delegate and usually prefer to tackle problems and assignments themselves.

People Oriented Roles

Coordinator (CO)

Coordinators are composed and self-confident people, who delegate tasks very effectively among team members. They are often good listeners and they have inner ability to distinguish individual talents and values of each member. Coordinators use members' virtues to guide the team and to pursue group objectives. Generally, COs take a traditional team-leader or chairman role.

The Coordinators' weakness can be delegating away too much personal responsibility.

Team Worker (TW)

Team Workers are sociable, rather sensitive and emphatic people, who provide the biggest support in a team, as well as they care that all team members are working together. Because they are flexible and easily adaptable to different situations and people, they often play the role of negotiators within a team.

Their weaknesses can be indecision in difficult moments and not clear and neutral position during team discussions and decision-making.

Resource Investigator (RI)

Resource Investigators are curious and enthusiastic extroverts. They easily negotiate and communicate with people both outside and inside the company. Outgoing and full of energy, they eagerly explore new opportunities and ideas, finding out what can be done in the particular situation. RIs are skillful in gathering useful people, information and promising ideas.

Although enthusiastic and eager, they may lose their initial fascination and interest quickly.

What is Belbin? A Guide to Belbin Team Roles. (by

Thought Oriented Roles

Plant (PL)

Plants are highly individualistic and creative personalities. They tend to be introverted and prefer to work by themselves at some distance from the other team members. Plants often work in an unconventional way, they use their vivid imagination and come up with original new ideas.

Although Plants are unvalued team members when a team has to deal with sophisticated obstacles, they may have problems with personal communication inside a company, as well as it is very hard for them to accept any criticism of their, very often, too innovative ideas.

Monitor - Evaluator (ME)

Monitor-Evaluators are practical and hard-headedness individuals. They prefer to think over carefully every possible solution before they come up with the final decision. ME's are prudent and seem to be unemotional, however their ability to astute and critical judgements makes them strategic and good advisors.

Their main weakness may be lack of the capacity to motivate others.

Specialist (SP)

Specialists are committed professionals who dedicated themselves to the particular subject. Their specialized knowledge and rare skills are often indispensable to get the job done in a team. SP's are experts in the area who provide crucial support for a team, as they are people who know more about subject than anybody else.

Eventually, SP's are not paying to much attention to others' fields of interests and their narrow specialization may limit their job possibilities.


  • Belbin, M. (2004), Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, Butterworth Heinemann, 2nd ed.
  • Belbin, M. (1993), Team Roles at Work, Butterworth Heinemann, 1993
  • Belbin, R.M. (2012). Team roles at work. Routledge.
  • Lindgren, R. M. B. R. Meredith Belbin’s Team Roles Viewed From the Perspective of The Big 5.
  • The Belbin Guide to Succeeding at Work, Belbin Associates, 2008
  • West M.A. and Markiewicz L. (2004), Building team-based working: A practical guide to organizational transformation, Oxford, Blackwell
  • Belbin Associates Homepage

Author: Ewa Szczepankiewicz