As an HR professional with over 25 years of experience, I help teams identify and clarify roles and responsibilities. This usually leads to increased productivity, employee satisfaction and reduced conflict and confusion. To create a balanced team, consider the research of Dr. Meredith Belbin, who identified nine team roles:
- Shaper – This action-oriented role challenges the team to improve. Extroverted people, who like to function as shapers, enjoy solving problems, motivating others, and investigating alternatives. However, shapers may be argumentative as well.
- Implementer – This action-oriented role ensures that work gets done. Conservative people who function as implementers tend to be very organized. As a result, implementers may be resistant to change.
- Completer-Finisher – This action-oriented role makes sure that no errors occur. These people tend to be perfectionists who like to focus on details. They may find it hard to delegate.
- Coordinator – This people-oriented role takes on the role of leader. They guide the team to achieve the defined goals. Coordinators may fail to take personal responsibility for tasks.
- Team Worker – This people-oriented role provides support. This type of person likes to ensure that everyone gets along and function effectively. Team workers may be indecisive, however.
- Resource Investigator – This people-oriented role explores options and negotiates on behalf of the team. They work with external stakeholders. Resource investigators may be too optimistic.
- Plant – This thought-oriented role comes up new approaches. Innovative people thrive on generating new ideas. People who perform this role tend to ignore constraints and communicate poorly.
- Monitor-Evaluator – This thought-oriented role analyzes ideas. They carefully ponder the pros and cons before making a decision. However, monitors tend to react to events rather than plan for them.
- Specialist – This thought-oriented role contributes knowledge required to get work done. A specialist tends to focus on technicalities.
Encourage each of your team members to find out more about their own personality and preferences by completing a questionnaire. Use the results to help them focus their career development and participation on teams. Additionally, observe members of your team to identify how they behave and contribute to the team. Compare each person’s strengths and weaknesses to the roles listed above. If you lack a team role, consider finding another resource to join your team. Identify potential team weaknesses, conflict areas and untapped strengths. By establishing a balance, you can improve overall team effectiveness. Identifying team roles at the beginning of a project helps you establish a solid foundation for success.