Balanced teams

Working in teams and working with teams I often notice that things sometimes fail to move forward or that they move forward only lacking a clear direction.

One of the key things I try to recognize is that team members have different ways of contributing to a team. The most well known method to classify these differences is the team roles model of Dr Meredith Belbin. According to this model there are 9 team roles in three categories:

  • 3 Action oriented team roles – Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher
  • 3 People oriented team roles – Co-ordinator, Teamworker and Resource Investigator
  • 3 Thought oriented team roles – Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist.

On any team you typically have some arbitrary combination of roles. You hardly notice different roles if you have a good mix.

If the mix is far from ideal you do start noticing. Too many roles from the same category and you end up with a lot of conflicts. Lacking roles from one the categories makes your team unbalanced. Your team will lack power to move forward.

An online test (Dutch) to find out your dominant team roles. Highly recommended to know your own one or two dominant team roles.

Further reading on the Belbin team roles.

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