Leadership, Management, Management & leadership, Personal development

How much of a plant are you?

What role do you play in a team? How do you behave? What do you do?

No I am not looking for a scientific explanation of why we are or why we are not like plants!

I am asking this from the perspective of what role you play in a team. How do you behave? What do you do?

Dr Meredith Belbin and his research team spent years researching this very thing. They came up with the Belbin Team Roles theory and behavioural assessment. They identified nine different team roles that people play – each team role consisting of a different set of behaviours. My workshop at Management & Leadership Fair, on 15-16 February 2016, explores the themes in this article.

So how would you describe each team role in a sentence?


Well, the Plants amongst us are extremely creative and good at problem solving.


The Monitor-Evaluators are the logical, analytical ones who have the ability to make impartial judgements.


The Specialists are those who have an in-depth knowledge of a particular area.

Resource – Investigators

Resource-Investigators are excellent networkers who are good at exploring and developing external opportunities and contacts


Then there are the Co-ordinators, the calm, confident ones who provide focus on team goals, draw out team members and delegate appropriately.


The Teamworkers are co-operative, help the team get along and muck in when things need to be done.


The Shapers are challenging and provide drive and direction to keep the team moving forward.


Implementers are organised and turn ideas into practical actions and get things done.

Completer – Finisher

And to complete the team roles you have the Completer-Finisher, the one who is highly accurate, will find an error if there is one and has exceptionally high quality standards.

So, have you been reading some of these going ‘that is just like me’ … or perhaps, ‘I am definitely not that!’ or even ‘that is so like Bob from our team’. Of course you can’t get yours or others complete profiles from just reading a sentence summary on each of the different roles but it does give you an idea of the types of behaviours that people display in teams. And you start to appreciate why some people seem to be excellent at certain tasks but then not quite so good at others. Or why some people get really enthused about some areas of work and for others that same bit of work seems like the dullest thing on earth.

Understanding about the role you play in a team, and the roles that others play allows you to better appreciate everyone’s contribution, play to people’s strengths, build better working relationships and be more effective as a team.

There are lots of ways that you can find out more about Belbin:

If you want an introduction and overview, come along to my workshop Belbin – Get the Best from your Team at Management and Leadership Fair on 15-16 February 2016.

If you want a fuller, in-depth day course after the Management and Leadership Fair workshop, come along to our course on “Belbin: Be the best for you and your team” on 28 April.

Or if you have four or more people at your organisation who would like to do the Belbin Assessment with some 1:1 feedback or a group training session, email me on hbrierley@dsc.org.uk or call me on 0207 697 4291.