There are nine key team roles:
- Investigator: explores opportunities, develops contacts, develops stakeholder insight
- Teamworker: helps team gel, listens and averts friction, builds trust in the team
- Coordinator: focuses on team objectives, draws out team members, delegates work
- Plant: fosters creativity, solves complex problems, generates ideas
- Implementer: turns ideas into practical actions, develops efficient work plans
- Finisher: polishes and evaluates work outcomes for accuracy, provides quality control
- Evaluator: provides a logical eye, offers objective evaluation of the team's options
- Shaper: provides drive and motivation to ensure team maintains focus and motivation
- Specialist: brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team
Source: Belbin, 1981, https://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/
Key findings related to team roles
- Mixed evidence on whether team roles are distinct, possibly because people play multiple roles (Fisher et al., 2001)
- Team roles are independent of salary, formal job responsibilities and/or status in organizations (Dulewicx, 1995)
- All team roles have weaknesses that need to be managed (Belbin, 1981, 1993)
- Teams need to be balanced, meaning most/all of these roles need to be fulfilled in the team
Be aware of team member fulfilling several role, how would you handle his replacement?
Consider even as a team leader to take the role of unfulfilled roles or to delegate someone to it.
Critical! Discussion of team roles
To get benefit of competitive rewards, team role discussion is mandatory or team performance will heavily suffers.
Source: Beersma et al., Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2009