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Task Master or Team Captain? Belbin Team Role Combinations


Belbin Role Combinations - Are they a Task Master or a Team Captain?

It’s not just your top Team Role preference that will characterise your behavior as a team member and leader, far from it in fact.

Other strong Role preferences that sit second, third and even fourth in some cases will flavor the behaviour, decision-making and contributions of a person and should never be discounted when looking at a profile.

One of the great things about the Belbin Model is that it takes into account the true diversity of operating styles amongst people, and it does not ‘pigeon-hole’ or ‘cookie-cutter’ in its approach. It takes into account the numerous layers and external factors that will help to shape individual and collective behavior.

There are many potential combinations of strong role preferences that can characterise a person’s contribution as a leader or team member.

Take for example two people, each with “Shaper” as their top role but with differing secondary roles.

Whilst they will share certain Shaper characteristics, differences in the roles that follow for each will strongly influence the differences in how their behavior actually manifests.

Are the roles that follow “action-oriented” roles like the top role of Shaper, or are they “thinking” or “social” roles, or indeed possibly even a blend of the three? This is a major factor in how that person will behave in a team, and also clarify what sort of “Shaper” you are dealing with.

Let’s say that one person has Implementer as their second role, and the other Teamworker.

1. The Shaper and Implementer Combination – “The Task Master”

The nickname given in Belbin Team Role theory to the Shaper and Implementer combination is “Task Master”.

These folks have the drive, energy and determination of the Shaper and also the relentless work ethic and passion for organization of the Implementer.

With these Roles both being “action-oriented” roles, make sure that you look busy whenever they walk past your desk. They will easily find plenty for you to do if you don’t look quite busy enough.

2. The Shaper and Teamworker Combination –“The Team Captain”

The nickname given in Belbin Team Role theory to the Shaper and Teamworker combo is “Team Captain”.

This person will possess the drive and dynamism of a Shaper, but the second role of Teamworker being a “social” role, and relationship focused, will really help to soften some of the the impacts of the Shaper and result in different style of Shaper behavior manifesting.

This person may kick you up the butt when you need it, but then just as likely put their arm around you and tell you why it was necessary and help you to deal with the emotional fallout afterwards.

Thus it’s important to take a careful look at the layers of a person’s profile and never be tempted to stereotype or pigeon-hole someone based on a first glance alone.

A person's top four role preferences can often be looked at in varying combinations, and so in some cases you may have a Shaper who can play both the Task Master and Team Captain.

And so it goes for all of the Team Role styles, and possible combinations thereof.

Why not have a look in our Free Resources section at the "Team Role Nicknames" handout and see what you think may characterise your own team and leadership style?

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