Inspiration

How to Apply Belbin’s Team Roles Theory to Corporate Team Building Events

2019-03-19T08:04:58+00:00 26, 03, 2019-By |

Corporate team building events are always a fun way to get your team out of the office, exploring new ways to communicate with each other, and building upon those all-important bonds that lead to greater success and dynamism in the workplace. Over the years, we at Eventwise have dreamt up a huge range of fantastic team building events and activities, which range from Wacky Wheels go-kart challenges to Murder Mysteries, and everything in between. While having fun, doing something out of the ordinary, and taking a break from the office form much of the core of what we do, there’s a whole lot of theory involved, too. 

One of the most popular theories that we encourage teams to keep in mind is that of Belbin’s team roles. Dr. Meredith Belbin was something of a visionary when it came to understanding how teams best work together, and his work is recognised worldwide by companies looking to boost their productivity and team dynamics. By looking into Belbin roles at work, and recognising the importance of bringing together different people with different skills, approaches to tasks, and abilities ranging from problem solving to working under pressure, you can better arrange your teams and set them up for success.

Of course, figuring out those Belbin team roles isn’t always easy, especially if you’re in the office where each individual has their pre-assigned roles, duties, and responsibilities. Who knows what amazing skills you’re missing out on, or failing to bring out in your team members? Through corporate team building events such as Escape Rooms and Qube Challenge (among many more), and by keeping Belbin team roles strengths and weaknesses in mind, you might just be able to identify your team members’ secret powers, amazing abilities, or natural place in your company. If you’re also able to have a great time while doing so, and experiencing something radically different from the day-to-day life of the office, then that only makes the whole thing sweeter!

Escape Rooms

What Are Belbin Team Roles?

It’s no real secret that the most successful teams are those which embrace a diverse mix of people, personality types, skills, abilities, and behaviours. However, Dr. Belbin was among the first to formally recognise specific team roles for team leaders to look out for, encourage, and manage within their teams.

Belbin, back in 1993, identified what he referred to as nine ‘clusters’ of behaviour in team workers. These became known as Belbin team roles, and the term ‘cluster’ is a significant one, as Belbin also recognised that every strength has an associated ‘allowable weakness’, as well as aspects which team leaders or employers shouldn’t be surprised to discover in team members with said strengths.

In order for any team to become a high performing one, Belbin claimed that they must have access to the nine team behaviours. However, this doesn’t mean that every single team must have nine team members, each of whom fit the specific behaviours perfectly! Belbin was keen to stress that most individuals would comfortably fit into two or three of the team roles he identified, and could switch between them when necessary. Indeed, it may even be that the team roles members identify most strongly with can change over time, as new confidence and abilities are uncovered, and as the dynamic and abilities of the team evolve with each success. The main takeaway from all of this? That every team has its own strengths and weaknesses, and that each of these is of equal value and importance. 

The 9 team roles:

• Resource Investigator
• Team Worker
• Co-ordinator
• Plant
• Monitor Evaluator
• Specialist
• Shaper
• Implementer
• Completer Finisher

Belbin was also keen to express the fact that not every single project requires every team role to be in action at once. One of most important aspects of any team project is to carefully consider the goals and objectives, and then decide which tasks need to be undertaken. Once this is all outlined, discussions can take place to decide which Belbin team roles and behaviours (that is, which individuals who fit those profiles) can be utilised most effectively. In many ways, this is where corporate team building activities come in very neatly. Many team building activities - especially problem-solving and challenge-based activities - require a range of different team role behaviours to come to the fore, and may help team members self-identify themselves within those set roles. By knowing what you and your team members are capable of, you should be able to better understand where you fit into Belbin’s clusters, and how to bring those strengths and weaknesses into your next project.

The Nine Belbin Team Role Clusters

With Belbin team roles at work, individuals have a greater understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and their abilities to manage different projects and scenarios. Team leaders have the opportunity to consider Belbin team roles, and put together great teams or improve existing ones, based upon the nine clusters laid out by this game-changing theory. Let’s take a look at these roles and clusters in a little more detail.

Resource Investigator

Resource investigators are inquisitive and searching, and use this aspect of their nature to seek out the best ideas, concepts, and approaches, and bring these factors back to their team for discussion or implementation. 

Strengths: Explores opportunities, creates leads, and develops contacts. Outgoing, enthusiastic, and keen to uncover new ideas.

Weaknesses: Resource investigators have a tendency to be over-optimistic, and can also quickly lose interest once their initial rush of enthusiasm has passed.

Don’t be surprised if: the resource investigator forgets to follow up on leads, due to becoming enthused about a different aspect of the project.

Team Worker

Team workers are essential for bringing the team together, and helping everybody feel as though they are the same level. They are brilliant at facilitating team cohesion, and encouraging the group to ‘gel’ as one. They use their versatility to identify the tasks that need completing, and are happy to step in and complete work on behalf of the team as a whole.

Strengths: Diplomatic, co-operative, and highly perceptive. Team workers are good at averting friction and listening to the thoughts and feelings of others.

Weaknesses: Team workers often avoid confrontation, and struggle when it comes to making decisions in crunch situations.

Don’t be surprised if: They find it difficult to make unpopular decisions.

Co-ordinator

Co-ordinators are necessary for focusing on team objectives, and are great when it comes to selecting team members to complete tasks and delegating wisely.

Strengths: They tend to be very mature when it comes to decision-making, and have the confidence in their decisions to identify talent and delegate tasks in an appropriate and fair manner. They are also very good when it comes to clarifying goals and seeing the path that will help the team reach them.

Weaknesses: Co-ordinators can be seen by other team members as manipulative, and will sometimes be accused of offloading their share of the work onto others. Whether this is actually the case is another matter.

Don’t be surprised if: They become too enthusiastic in their delegation and end up with little to focus on themselves.

Plant

Highly creative, plants are good at lateral thinking and approaching problem-solving in creative and unorthodox ways. Their methods can be infectious, and they tend to be very good team members to call upon when things go in unexpected directions.

Strengths: Creative, free-thinking, imaginative and open-minded. Plants are great at problem solving - and generating new and original ideas.

Weaknesses: Plants have a tendency to preoccupation and sometimes struggle with open communication. They also sometimes ignore incidentals and can find it difficult to follow other team members’ approaches.

Don’t be surprised if: They are forgetful or absent-minded when engaged in a task.

Monitor Evaluator

Monitor Evaluators are logical and pragmatic and are important when somebody needs to cast an impartial eye over a project, or is required to weigh up options facing a team in a dispassionate fashion.

Strengths: Strategic, discerning and serious. Monitor Evaluators have the ability to see all options equally, and judge outcomes with accuracy and without too much emotional investment.

Weaknesses: They sometimes struggle when it comes to inspiring or motivating others, and they also have a tendency to be overly critical.

Don’t be surprised if: They find it difficult to make on-the-spot decisions.

Specialist

As the name suggests, specialists bring knowledge of an in-depth nature to specific areas of a project or task and draw upon personal resources to tackle problems head-on.

Strengths: Specialists are single-minded to a fault. They are also self-starting and dedicated they bring specialist knowledge and skills to projects which can turn out to be invaluable.

Weaknesses: Specialists can be found dwelling too much on technical aspects of a project and can find it difficult to see the bigger picture. They also tend to focus and contribute on a narrow front, depending on their area of expertise.

Don’t be surprised if: They overload their team members with specific information.

Shaper

Shapers are all about drive. They have the power to motivate team members, and to ensure that they remain focused and dedicated to the task at hand.

Strengths: They thrive under pressure and love the thrill of a challenge. Shapers are highly dynamic individuals, who have the courage and drive to face and overcome obstacles, bringing their team members with them.

Weaknesses: They can rub the wrong way alongside less motivated or more cautious team members.

Don’t be surprised if: They become bad-humoured and even counter-productive if things are moving too slowly.

Implementer

Implementers are necessary in a team that needs to plan workable strategies, and are great for carrying out tasks to completion in an efficient manner.

Strengths: Efficient, reliable and highly practical. Implementers organise ideas and set out paths for their team members to follow. They also help transform concepts and plans into workable actions.

Weaknesses: They can be a little slow to respond to new ideas or possibilities (which don’t fit with their own plans) and have a habit of being inflexible.

Don’t be surprised if: They are slow to give up their own plans of action in favour of others.

Completer Finisher

Complete Finishers are the ideal people to have on board towards the end of a project or task. They will scrutinise the work for errors and will help tie up any loose ends. Fantastic for quality control, Completer Finishers are all about meticulous attention to detail.

Strengths: Conscientious, painstaking and anxious about finer details. They will go to great lengths to ensure that everything is finished to the highest possible standard.

Weaknesses: Can often worry unduly and tend to be reluctant to delegate tasks to others. They can also slow down the completion progress if they feel that something isn’t quite right.

Don’t be surprised if: They take perfectionism to an extreme.

Workplace Team

Belbin Team Roles: Discover Your Team’s Dynamics With Corporate Team Building Activities

Here at Eventwise, we’re all about uncovering your team members’ true potential through fun, dynamic, and entertaining days out and activities. By taking part in treasure hunts, escape rooms, cookery classes, murder mysteries and more, you’ll have the chance to take a fresh look at your team, and see how their individual talents and Belbin team roles come to the fore. Once the activity is completed, you’ll be able to head back to your workplace brimming with ideas on how to put those skills and abilities to fantastic use on your next project.

By identifying Belbin team roles strengths and weaknesses, you should be able to end up with teams that not only work fantastically together and spark off each other’s strengths, you’ll also end up with a team whose weaknesses are supported and resolved by others, too. Eventwise team building events are the perfect way to explore this theory further and we’d love to have the chance to show you how. Get in touch today if you want your team to work at its full potential!