Team Roles Essay

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Team Roles in a Nutshell Ever wondered why some teams just seem to work and others hit the rocks? When things don’t work, it is obvious to all and it often has a profound effect on the people involved, as well as the project or objective to be achieved. In the 1970s, Dr Meredith Belbin and his research team at Henley Management College set about observing teams, with a view to finding out where and how these differences come about. They wanted to control the dynamics of teams to discover if – and how – problems could be pre-empted and avoided. Over a period of nine years, international management teams were studied. Each participant completed a battery of psychometric tests, so that attributes such as personality and behaviour could be brought into play and their effects on the team could be accurately considered. As the research progressed, the research revealed that the difference between success and failure for a team was not dependent on factors such as intellect, but more on behaviour. The research team began to identify separate clusters of behaviour, each of which formed distinct team contributions or “Team Roles”. A Team Role came to be defined as: “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.” It was found that different individuals displayed different Team Roles to varying degrees. The first Team Role to be identified was the “Plant”. The role was so-called because one such individual was “planted” in each team. They tended to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways. One by one, the other Team Roles began to emerge. The Monitor Evaluator was needed to provide a logical eye, make impartial judgements where required and to weigh up the team’s options in a dispassionate way. Co-ordinators were needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately.
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