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Belbin Team Roles is used by many global organisations and will help you build high performance teams and take the guesswork out of team success.

Unique 360° Team Role Reports will help you:

  • Compare your view of your strengths with the view of others

  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the whole team

  • Build an accurate team development plan

  • Be a better team leader and team manager

  • Facilitate powerful team-building workshops to help team members be their best

  • Deal with “personality clashes” that are hampering teamwork

  • Recruit the right person for the right job

  • Build strong project teams



Have you noticed how good people sometimes underperform in particular tasks? The reality is we are seldom good at everything. Understanding your preferred Team Styles, and knowing what you are not so good at is crucial for optimal team functioning. The 360 feedback format of Belbin Team Roles allows you to be clear about the different strengths and weaknesses of team members. This helps you to maximize each persons’ contribution, and empowers the team to function at its best.


“Why do some management teams succeed and others fail?” Dr. Meredith Belbin

A unique study of teams took place at the Administrative Staff College at Henley, Oxon, (now known as Henley Business School ) which ran an internationally famous 10-week course for successful managers with board potential.

Part of the course involved a business simulation in which the managers were put in to competing teams. This simulation contained all the principal variables that typify the problems of decision-making in a business environment. The experiment was designed along scientific lines with careful measurement at each stage.

In 1969, Dr Belbin was invited to use this business game as a starting point for a study of team behaviour. He came to it as a highly respected academic/industrialist, chairman and co-founder of The Industrial Training Research Unit (ITRU), which was founded by the Manpower Services Commission.

Having an interest in group as well as individual behaviour, but with no particular theories about teams, he enlisted the aid of three other scholars: Bill Hartston, mathematician and international chess master; Jeanne Fisher, an anthropologist who had studied Kenyan tribes; and Roger Mottram, an occupational psychologist. Together they began what was to be a nine-year task. Three business games a year with eight teams in each game, and then in meeting after meeting, observing, categorising and recording all the different kinds of contribution from team members.

The BUSINESS simulation

Those participating were invited to take psychometric tests plus a test of high level reasoning ability called the Critical Thinking Appraisal (CTA). Teams of various designs were composed on the basis of these individual test scores. Every half minute the contribution of the person speaking was recorded and classified into one of seven categories by trained observers. At the end of the exercise, which ran off and on throughout a week, the results of each team (operating as a company) were presented financially, which allowed more effective and less effective “companies” to be compared.


What was at first deemed to be likely was that high-intellect teams would succeed where lower intellect teams would not. However, the outcome of this research was that certain teams, predicted to be excellent based on intellect, failed to fulfil their potential.

In fact, it became apparent by looking at the various combinations that it was not intellect, but balance, which enabled a team to succeed. Successful “companies” were characterised by the compatibility of the roles that their members played while unsuccessful companies were subject to role conflict. Using information from psychometric tests and the CTA, predictions could be made on the roles that individuals played and ultimately on whether the company would be more likely to figure among the winners or losers.

One interesting point to observe from the experiment was that individuals reacted very differently within the same broad situation. It is a common experience that individual differences can cause a group to fall apart. People just don’t fit in. On the other hand, variation in personal characteristics can become a source of strength if they are recognised and taken account of. So understanding the nature of these differences can become an essential first step in the management of people, providing one can recognise what is useful for a given situation and what is not.

The most successful companies tended to be those with a mix of different people, i.e. those with a range of different behaviours. In fact, eight distinct clusters of behaviour turned out to be distinctive and useful. These were called “Team Roles,” and in fact, a ninth based on specialist knowledge was to emerge later. These Team Roles have been used in organisations and teams across the world ever since.

The research carried out at Henley, along with the outcomes, can be found in Dr. Meredith Belbin’s first book: Management Teams – Why they Succeed or Fail.
Additional titles by Meredith Belbin that explain the theory and its application in more detail:

  • Team Roles at Work (2nd Edition, 2010)

  • Beyond the Team (2000)

  • Changing the Way We Work (1997)

  • The Coming Shape of Organization (1996)

How do I FIND OUT MY Team Role preferences?
To find out which of the 9 Belbin Team Roles you have an affinity towards, and which ones you don’t, you need to start by completing a Belbin Self-Perception Inventory .

This is a questionnaire that takes about 20 minutes to complete. A report is automatically generated and sent back to you online. You can add depth and context to your report by asking people who work with you to complete an Observer Assessment. This will help you see not only which roles you prefer, but which ones your colleagues see and value!

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