How to Use Belbin Team Roles for Your Projects

Grace Windsor
By | Updated August 12, 2016 | 3 min read
Project Team Performance

Building your project team is not just about skills and experiences. You also need to make sure that the team is balanced and can collaborate together to avoid any conflicts.


Learn more about leadership and collaboration in our free project handbook [Download here]


One way to build your team is to use the Belbin team roles framework. The model identifies nine types of behaviors or team roles needed for successful teamwork. Using these roles as a guide, you can harness the full potential of each team member and develop high performing teams.

Most people enjoy working in two or three of the roles; can manage one or two more, and will avoid the rest. These preferences also impact their interactions with other team members.

The nine roles are briefly outlined below.


How to Use Belbin Team Roles for Your Projects

3 Belbin Thinking Orientated Roles

  1. Plant: The Plant is a creative problem solver who often comes up with new approaches and directions. They can be a little absent-minded and introverted.
  2. Monitor Evaluator: If you need logical, strategic, and impartial input, be sure to include a Monitor Evaluator in the team.  Remember that a Monitor Evaluator takes time to make decisions and can be very critical of others, which may impact the morale of the team.
  3. Specialist: The Specialist will bring in-depth knowledge and skills to the team. They tend to be dedicated, self-motivated, and highly professional. A Specialist is unlikely to stray outside of their area of expertise and can become bogged down in the smaller details of a project.



3 Belbin Action Orientated Roles

  1. Shaper: A Shaper drives the project forward, channeling their energy into overcoming any obstacles. A desire to meet deadlines can lead to conflict with others and a tendency to overstep their authority.
  2. Implementation: As the name suggests, Implementers get things done. An Implementer tends to be organized, disciplined, and reliable. They can be a little inflexible – don’t expect a quick response to changes!
  3. Completer Finisher: A Completer Finisher will get the project over the line with meticulous attention to detail and high standards of quality control. They often struggle with delegation and worry unnecessarily.



3 Belbin People Orientated Roles

  1. Co-ordinator: Need someone to lead the team? Co-ordinators keep the team focused on objectives, make good decisions, and delegate tasks to the most suitable individuals. Sometimes, they delegate too much!
  2. Team Worker: Co-operative, sociable, and supportive. The Team Worker will help your team to get along and reach their goals. They are often indecisive and may side with one team member against another.
  3. Resource Investigator: A Resource Investigator should be inquisitive, diplomatic, and curious. They work well with external stakeholders and like to explore new opportunities. Often overly optimistic, their attention often wanes quickly as the initial excitement associated with a new project fades.


Next Steps

Understanding and adapting to different work styles can make collaborative project management more achievable.

Once you have created your team, you’ll need to work through the five stages of team formation for peak performance. The below slide deck will help you to navigate these stages successfully.



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Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

Grace Windsor
Grace Windsor

Grace is a content creator within the marketing team at BrightWork. She loves creating actionable content in different formats to help others achieve more project success. Grace spent far too long at university studying English literature, which instilled a life-long love of learning and upskilling. In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.

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