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Belbin's team roles: Understanding your team

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This page will help you understand the balance of skills, abilities and aspirations in your team, so you can harness them effectively.

One of the great strengths of an effective team is its blend of talents and abilities. It’s useful to understand the blend within your own team so you can ensure each team member is playing to their strengths and working with others most effectively.

For example, one team member may consistently come up with new ideas, while another may excel at turning ideas into practical action. Encouraging these individuals to work together in an idea generating workshop would be a valuable way to harness each of their strengths.

Belbin’s ‘team roles’ model

Belbin’s team roles model is a tool you can use to understand the balance of behaviours and skills within your team. The model was developed by researcher and management consultant Dr Meredith Belbin.

It consists of nine ‘team roles’ that combine to make up a balanced and effective team.

Belbin's team roles report

Belbin’s team roles report lets you see which role(s) each member of your team most identifies with.

The report can help you:

  • make decisions about which team members are best placed to take on certain tasks
  • understand how individuals can work best together
  • spot and fill gaps in your team. For example, if no one has strong attention to detail, you could develop an ‘end of project’ checklist to ensure the team completes work to a high standard.

Using your team insights

Once you have a clearer understanding of the roles within your team, you can consider the following questions.

  • How well are you using individual’s talents?
  • How balanced is the team?
  • Are any roles missing? What can you do to fill those gaps?
  • Do you have multiple team members carrying out the same role?
  • Do you need to reorganise the team to create a better balance?

Understanding the gaps in your team can help you create effective development plans. This is particularly important in smaller charities, where individuals tend to be responsible for a wider range of tasks.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 29 August 2023

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