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Meredith Belbin published "Management Teams - why they succeed or fail" in

1981. Driven by the increasing importance of team-working in organisations at the time,


Belbin set out to identify what made a good team, based on research in the UK and
Australia. Although the book offered a number of important factors, it's the team roles
that became famous. Belbin found that in successful teams all eight roles could be seen
in operation, and concluded that when selecting people for a team, filling the eight roles
was as important as choosing technical skills or experiences.
Belbin's ideas continue to be used by thousands of organisations because they
make sense and they work. You can buy all sorts of tools to identify individuals'
preferred roles, and help teams to make the best use of each role. Although your
preferred roles are relatively unchanging over time, most of us can happily perform two
or three of the roles, thus filling any gaps in the team's profile. That also means that one
person can cover more than one role - clearly important if you have a team of less than
eight people!
The concept works best when used openly within a team or across an
organisation. Individual preferences are only useful if they're known to others, so teams
can assess who can best fulfill each role. You can use role identification as a form of
team-building: it reinforces the fact that everyone is bringing something to the team, so
you all need each other if you are to be successful.
Extrovert roles: - outward looking people whose main orientation is to the world outside
the group, and beyond the task(s) in hand: plant, resource investigator, chairman, shaper.
Introvert roles: - inward-looking people principally concerned with relations and tasks
within the group: monitor/ evaluator, team worker, completer/ finisher, implementer.