Management Teams – Why They Succeed Or Fail

Effective teamworking is seen today as the key to success in many organisations. Meredith Belbin identified the characteristics of people needed to make up a successful
team.His recommendations are still used today, so if you have to build a team, his ideas may well prove useful, nearly 30 years after his great book was published.

Businesses have often been pre-occupied with the strengths of the individual; do they have the qualifications and experience to do the job effectively, and the talents to be successful in the job. What they often overlook is whether they will fit into the team environment. This pre-occupation with individual assets means they concentrate on the selection, development, training, motivation and promotion of individuals without emphasising what benefits they bring to the team as a whole.

So Belbin and his team highlighted the necessary skills and characteristics that make up successful teams. They came up with nine archetypal functions that make up an ideal team. Here they are:

Plant: creative, imaginative, unorthodox, solves difficult problems

Co-ordinator: mature, confident, trusting, a good chairperson, clarifies goals, promotes decision-making

Shaper: Dynamic, outgoing, enjoys challenges and pressure, finds ways round obstacles

Teamworker: Social, mild, perceptive, accommodating, good listener

Completer-Finisher: Pains-taker, conscientious, anxious, delivers to exact standards

Implementer: Disciplined, reliable, conservative, efficient, turns ideas into actions

Resource Investigator: Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative, explores opportunities

Specialist: Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated, brings skills and knowledge that few others have

Monitor-Evaluator: Sober, strategic, discerning, sees many options, makes judgements

These categories have proved to be robust over the years and are still used in business to identify team ethics. High-performing companies increasingly believe that teams rather than business units or individuals are the basic building blocks to a successful organisation.

I’d recommend you take a look at Belbin’s book (Management Teams – Why they succeed or fail, Heinemann Publishing) and identify what you are looking for from your teams.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

(Image by Stuart Miles)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.