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Required Roles

Careful study of the results revealed that the key ingredient was diversity. Teams whose members showed greater diversity in leadership style performed better, while teams whose members all showed basically similar ways of leading and participating within the group performed less well. Going back to his observations and data on the team members, Belbin identified eight distinct “leadership roles” or team functions that team members seemed to play in the most diversified, most successful teams.

Belbin's leadership roles represent functions needed by a team for peak performance, and they also represent styles in which those leadership functions can be carried out. Four of these resemble conventional notions of how real leaders behave. A driver is a team member who typically defines things, steering and shaping the team thinking and the discussion toward a particular end or outcome, imposing specific patterns of work or approaches. We all know drivers in this sense, and often they are people seen as dominant in teams. But there are other important forms of team leadership. An originator is a leader in ideas, an innovator and inventor who advances new ideas or approaches. A coordinator is a leader in terms of process, a facilitator who helps move the problem solving forward by drawing on the entire team as human resources. A monitor is an evaluator who applies critical review and analysis to the group work, in effect; a leader in quality assurance.


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