Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors
Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors

Belbin Team Role Language - a Belbin Glossary

When Meredith Belbin first discovered the patterns of Team Role behaviours, these were concepts which had not previously been identified. This meant that they required new terms. Sometimes Team Role terminology can cause confusion, since words and phrases can have somewhat different definitions to their standard, familiar ones. The chief advantage of acquiring the Belbin vocabulary is that you can employ its neutral language to to identify behaviours, situations and relationships which might otherwise be hard to formulate.

Team Roles or teamroles?

The term Team Roles was first coined by Dr Meredith Belbin, but is now used more generically to describe team types. A Team Role is delineated by Meredith Belbin as: "A disposition to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way." It is normally written Team Roles, but can likewise be seen as teamroles or team-roles.

Team building or teambuilding?

Team building concerns to the selection and motivation of teams, in order to make them more efficient. More specifically, the phrase is used when a team undergoes self-assessment in order to estimate the effectuality of its practices and use this knowledge to make improvements. Usually written team building, but likewise seen as teambuilding or team-building.

Psychometric test or behaviour assessment?

Belbin seeks to measure an individual's behavioral contribution, through the lens of Belbin Team Role Theory. As such, it is not a personality test, but a behavioural one. Studies describe Team Role predilections to allow an individual to appreciate where their strengths dwell and which behaviours should be refined for the welfare of the team, as well as for individual evolution and career advancement.

Inventory, test, questionnaire or analysis?

Belbin uses the Self-Perception Inventory (SPI) which was formulated and developed by Dr Meredith Belbin, following extensive research at Henley Management College.

The inventory is made up of seven sections, each of which presents a different scenario to the candidate. The candidate allocates marks to the statements, according to how well they feel that a statement reflects their working style. It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

We tend not to refer to Belbin as a test, since there are no right or wrong answers, only different Team Roles and different contributions to be made. Belbin aims to concentrate on strengths and positive contributions, so although weaknesses are identified, these are viewed as the flipside of displaying a Team Role strength. Armed with the language of Belbin Team Role Theory, the team can capitalise on an individual's strengths and manage weaknesses.

Similarly, we avoid the terminology "questionnaire," simply because the term implies either an opinion poll or a vague and non-research-based magazine questionnaire. It is an inventory rather than a questionnaire because all of the scores are very precisely logged, then processed, in order to formulate the results in a Belbin report.

Belbin or belbins?

Belbin promotes and formulates Team Role Theory, providing profiles to enhance cognition and understanding for individuals and teams.

Belbin Associates is a partnership. The collaborators are Meredith Belbin, Nigel Belbin and David Bainbridge.

'BELBIN', 'CONTRIBUTE' & 'INTERPLACE' are trademarks of Belbin Associates, UK.