Belbin Team Roles Theory

Table of Contents

Belbin team roles is research conducted by Dr Meredith Belbin’s. Belbin team roles consist of nine different roles all accumulated from different behaviourists and personal attributions. 

The research inferred that the most successful teams have a diverse mix of behaviours. To grasp an idea of which role suits who, a test takes place.

Within with test, it involves persons own assessment of their own behaviour alongside feedback from other observers. The judgement from both is then contrasted from how one sees themselves and how they’re seen by others.

Referring back to that the most successful teams involve a diverse mix of the Belbin roles, this doesn’t mean each of the nine roles must be included.

Instead, Belbin believes that the optimum team size is four people.

A balanced team is one with a mix of each, with strengths that complement each other and aid to fill any gaps other members might have in their skill set.

A rundown of the nine-team roles

Before listing each, the roles can be split into three sub-categories; these being Thinking roles, Action roles and People roles.

Thinking roles

Known to be thinking-oriented.


People who fit this role are usually those who bring about growth and progress, intertextually referencing a plant as such.

Main characteristics:

  • More introverted.
  • Work on their own.
  • Creative, think outside the box.
  • Don’t naturally share.

Plants can be known to need extra support and patience when dealing with feedback and communication.

Monitor Evaluator

A monitor evaluator is someone who is a rational thinker and prefers a logical approach to problem-solving.

Main characteristics:

  • Very objective.
  • Prefer to work independently.
  • Have an analytical mind.
  • Good at assessing and analysing the ideas the plant comes up with.

Those who fit this role are good for managerial roles. However, can find it hard to inspire those around them and their views may be seen as overly critical. 


These individuals hold an in-depth understanding of a certain area, usually associated with the team their part of.

Main characteristics:

  • Struggle to see the bigger picture.
  • Highly educated in their subject.
  • Very committed.
  • Can provide technical expertise.
  • Highly focused.

Sometimes, they tend to be narrow with their thinking and can overload teams with information.


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People roles

Known to be more sociable and a people person.


Those who fit under this role are the usual team leader and have a strong focus on the overall objectives of the team.

Main characteristics:

  • Mature and Confident.
  • Skilled at recognising and nurturing talent.
  • Great listeners.
  • Calm under pressure.


One thing to be aware of is that coordinator has the tendency to delegate too much of their workload, leading to issues with other team members.

Team worker

People under this role provide good insurance of cohesion within the team; making sure those in the team are functioning well as a unit.

Main characteristics:

  • Extroverted, flexible and adaptable.
  • Communicate well.
  • Supportive.
  • Avoids conflict.


Due to their commitment to staying neutral and avoidance of confrontation means they can be indecisive in high-pressure situations.

Resource investigator

A resource investigator is someone who is passionate about networking and can go out and explore options and create contacts.

Main characteristics:

  • Extroverted and inquisitive.
  • Optimistic and creative.
  • Have a readiness to see the possibilities of anything new.
  • Natural negotiators.


The tendency of being very optimistic and strongly motivated sometimes can lead to ‘cooling down’ from this.

Action roles

Team roles within this are action-oriented.


A shaper is someone who drives the team forward to achieving objectives and can be seen as someone vital to every team.

Main characteristics:

  • Energetic; provides momentum and focus.
  • Positive energy.
  • Thrive under pressure.
  • Inspirational.


Moreover, being a shaper role does come along with some other traits such as being headstrong and can offend other team members. They can struggle to work with less ambitious team members and be seen as provocative.


An implementer is perfect for moving the team forward using strategic methods. They hold the skill of being able to turn abstract ideas into actionable ideas.

Main characteristics:

  • Disciplined and organised.
  • Follows plans and sticks to deadlines.
  • Resistant to change.
  • Reliable and hardworking.
  • Holds a  systematic approach to tackling issues.


Can be slow to respond to change and can require persuasion to adapt. As well as being someone who is less reluctant to be flexible

Completer finisher

Individuals as such provide the assurance that team members and their work provide the highest possible standard.

Main characteristics:

  • Great attention to detail.
  • Dislike carelessness.
  • Prefer to tackle tasks themselves.
  • Good at tackling problems that require close concentration and accuracy.


However, being a completer finisher can mean they are overly picky and worry that the team isn’t performing well.

A great thing about having the Belbin research introduced to your workplace is that teams can recognise where their strengths and weaknesses lie. 

Teams that are able to recognise each other’s weaknesses and strengths allow each to help those who may struggle. Consequently, aiding the team to work together successfully.

Ready to learn further about how to manage and develop your team into being successful and driven? Have a go at our Leadership and Management programme!

On this you will:

Learn new skills and strategies at leading people

Recognise ways to improve your confidence

Explore leadership tools and principles!

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