In appreciation of Belbin© Team Roles

January 29, 2013 : General Team Building

Lead Facilitator Vicky Russell provides an insight into the benefits of using Belbin© Team Roles

I can only provide a very personal perspective of a facilitator who has worked with Belbin© profiling tools extensively with a range of teams, mostly senior level, and across sectors including engineering, food, hotels, social enterprises and pharmaceuticals.

I love using the Belbin© exercises and reports because I love people, and particularly how they work within their teams. In my experience, like individuals, teams have a range of core strengths as well as some gaps that can hinder their overall team effectiveness. It’s not uncommon for a team to be unaware of any gaps it may have, and sometimes simply recognising these can be the most powerful insight for a team to improve how they work together. Whilst other profiling tools focus on the individual and their working or leadership styles, Belbin© focuses on how people interact with each other, regardless of whether they are the team leader or not. This interaction describes the team dynamics and this is what will help achieve team objectives.

I particularly like the way the Belbin© approach offers an inclusive, non-threatening approach to how teams currently work together.Experiential workshop exercises and related team activities draw out behaviours that often occur in real-life workplace situations. Facilitating a team session in London one day, the team got so carried away that one of the managers walked out! The insight wasn’t that this was uncommon (unfortunately it was), but that the manager hadn’t thought what the impact on the rest of the team was by behaving that way. This small insight may not have changed the whole team dynamics, but it certainly helped create a more open communication style where, rather than operating in a workplace which instilled silence, they were able to joke with their manager back on the job.

Overall the Belbin© activities allow me as the Facilitator to identify some practical actions that a team can implement back in the workplace to motivate and encourage communication, which in turn results in moreeffective team working. This can help thewider organisation’s performance as more effective teams have been proven to finish projects faster, produce higher quality goods or services, and generate more revenue.

If you haven’t come across the interpretive Belbin© reports for individuals, these are detailed, visual and provide participants with an opportunity to increase their self-awareness as well as understand how colleagues perceive their role within a team environment. As well as individual reports, we can produce interpretive team reports that can also identify further areas of development which teams can focus on.  Often, these complement the actions emerging from the exercises.

When a team changes, the reports can be updated to reflect the new team, so this is a tool which has a long-term value for organisations. For me this is vital, as there is no point using a tool which is simply put on the shelf gathering dust. Experiential team development for me isn’t about hugging trees but helping to create a positive journey for teams. Belbin© can be fun, but most importantly leaves a legacy which is practical and informative.

Maximillion is an accredited Belbin© Team Roles centre.


We hope that you will consider Maximillion for your organisation’s learning and development requirements in Edinburgh, Scotland, across the UK and overseas over 2013, and very much look forward to hearing from you.

For more information on the above or any related area of interest for Learning & Development, please contact Sandy Smith on 0845 901 1422 and

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