What's Your Belbin Team Role - Part 1

Posted by admin at 9:54 AM on Apr 27, 2023


Dr Meredith Belbin developed his theory of team roles in the early 1980s, publishing a book in 1981 that discussed the original eight (a ninth came later) team roles that people fit into in a business situation. Belbin's team roles can apply in social situations too, in fact these roles can be seen anywhere that people need to collaborate or plan together.

The roles are:

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

Resource Investigators are great at research and background knowledge, so they are ideal in market research and product development roles, but may lose interest in the later stages of a project. They excel at networking and exploring applications for a product or service, so can be useful for marketing campaign development.

In the marketing world, a resource investigator would be ideally suited to the early stages of market research and product development. This role would include scoping out customer requirements, identifying unmet needs and working out which marketing platforms and channels to use for broadcasting the campaign. They could work well with plants during later stages of the project.

Teamworkers are people-focused leaders that keep a team on task, and working effectively. They manage people well in a way that avoids friction, and are approachable. They may however, be unwilling to make unpopular decisions and tend to avoid conflict, which can interfere with effective management.

In a marketing role, teamworkers make great account managers. They are brilliant at smoothing interactions between different personalities and different teams, and generally make everyone's lives easier. At times, collaborating with monitor evaluators helps keep them focused on the project, not just on keeping people happy.

Co-ordinators are task-focused leaders who have a high level, big-picture approach to a task. They can excel at delegation, but run the risk of delegating too much and losing sight of the progress in each department. Pairing a co-ordinator with a teamworker as project leads helps use the talents both these types have, while mitigating their weaknesses with complimentary skills.

Marketing teams need co-ordinators at the high levels, working in account management, or as general managers in charge of resource allocation. They may value the insight of other, more creative thinkers to give insight they miss with their big-picture thinking. Plants, shapers and implementers are all great reporters for a co-ordinator to have, keeping them connected to the project at ground level.

Plants (in the sense of a production and generation plant, rather than something you'd find in the garden!) are problem solvers and excel at finding creative solutions, or new angles on old ideas. They can seen forgetful, and may be so engrossed in their work that communication becomes an afterthought.

The role of a plant in a marketing team is to come up with creative ways of marketing a product or service. They are the ones who would come up with a brilliant cross-platform strategy and find a way to keep customers engaged at all stages of the buying journey. In the later stages of a project they can keep resources investigators interested by bringing them into these conversations and making use of their insight. Specialists will also work well with plants to find creative applications of products or services in a way that only the combination of these two thinking styles can.

Join us for part 2 where we look at the remaining roles, and how they apply to marketing teams.

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