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Recently I've got familiar with the Belbin Roles concept. It seemed to be weird that I should let people be aware of their roles, or even about my expectations, because the Belbin roles are rather personality qualities than tasks the people will do. Say, a person took part in the Belbin questionnaire, we understood that he has propensity to behave like a Teamworker or an Implementer, and I'll say

OK, now we are aware of you nature, please behave like an Implementer this time.

Does it work this way? I mean, I don't think people are conscious of their roles at any given time.

I also came across another source stating that it's better to not reveal the roles, so people are not bounded within them. (i haven't find it now, unfortunately)

So I will appreciate any real example of working with the Belbin Roles. Thanks.

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    Aleksandr, welcome to PMSE! Your question is very interesting, but I'm not sure that it is related to project management. – Sergey Kudryavtsev Aug 1 '17 at 7:22
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    This question would benefit from (1) sources/citations - if everyone understood Belbin roles, you wouldn't have to ask the question, and (2) an explicit relationship to project management. Would this be a better fit for Workplace.SE? Does it belong in PM:SE? – Mark C. Wallace Aug 1 '17 at 8:24
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because OP has not shown how this relates to project management. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 1 '17 at 8:25
  • @MarkC.Wallace, it's related to team management within project management. I would appreciate if you suggest more appropriate stack-community for such a question – The Dreams Wind Aug 1 '17 at 18:40
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    IMHO, this is 100% PM related. It is on the soft side of PM, but nevertheless very important. – David Espina Aug 1 '17 at 20:45
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No. You do not assign a person to a Belbin role. As a leader, you facilitate the roles by identifying talent that will gravitate to a specific role through your selection process so that your team is well represented by those nine roles. All of us, when on a team that evolves to a high performing entity, will gravitate to one or several of those roles because we are intrinsically built that way. This means as a team lead, you need to select your talent predicting which of those roles (s)he will assume in a very natural way.

Also, and I don't have a source handy at the moment but will post when I find it, there are teaming theories that suggest people will gravitate to fill one of these roles when the role is absent and when the team becomes high performing. For example, if these is a missing Completer/Finisher role on a high performing team, someone on that team will begin to assume those tasks associated with that role. The theory suggests it is a natural byproduct of a high performing team; else, the team marginally performs or falls apart. And if memory serves, it was based on this observed evolution Dr. Belbin arrived at his findings, but until I find a source I might be incorrect here.

I disagree with Gleeful Frog's answer in that the team would not be aware of you building your team based on these roles. This would be something you do as a manager in terms of assessing for these role behaviors and making team changes to ensure your team is well balanced. In fact, I think the team should be blind to it so as not to skew your observations.

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Aleksandr,

This is a great question and is in fact related to project management. I have successfully used Belbin Roles on project teams before. The key to using them is consent. The team needs to believe in the process and agree to using the roles to strengthen team outcomes. If they do not consent, you will not be successful in using them. The Belbin roles are not just for use by the Project Manager - they are for use by the entire team. I am primarily "Plant" and "Team Worker." I am also a "Completer Finisher," but I do not have as high a propensity for that as the other roles. The team can decide that my "Completer Finisher" skills may be valuable so that the team can be more balanced. Therefore, I would be willing to use that skill set to help the team be more balanced and therefore succeed. I am a huge fan of the Belbin process, and I've seen it improve teams' effectiveness in multiple projects. Each member of the team knows their strengths, and the team has given them permission to utilize them in order to make the team succeed.

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