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Group and Team Role

The roles and responsibilities of the leader or facilitator and the individual members working within the group or team are examined. The word 'role' refers to how a person will behave and what function they will perform within the group as a whole.

Leader/Facilitator Roles
The term ‘facilitator’ is sometimes used rather than leader, because the role is often not so much one of directing, than enabling the group to achieve its aims.  In many groups, the leader may eventually take a back seat, handing over the leadership role to other members of the group.

There are many different theories of leadership and people have tried to describe leaders in many different ways.  White & Lippett identified three styles of leadership: autocratic; democratic; and laissez-faire in 1960, these styles are still used today to define different leader types.  Different styles of leadership may be appropriate at different stages in a group’s development. Different people with different personalities will adopt different leadership styles – some may be more appropriate than others at any given time. 

Team Roles
To understand how a group operates it is necessary not only to look that the role of the group leader but also at the roles of the individual members of the group.  We use the word ‘role’ in this context to describe how people behave, contribute and relate with others, in other words we attempt to categorise personality types so that strengths and weaknesses can be identified and recognised amongst the group members.  Meredith Belbin’s work on Team Roles or Functions is often used to investigate how individuals behave or what functions they perform in a group.

Belbin identifies nine group roles, or clusters of behaviour
These roles have been categorised as either function (or task-oriented) or cerebral (people-oriented), fitting with the task and relationship roles of leadership as described above.  Belbin’s team roles are:

The Shaper is a dynamic, outgoing member of the team; they are often argumentative, provocative and impatient.


These traits may mean that they cause friction with other, especially people-orientated, members of the group.  Due to the personality of the Shaper they push the group towards agreement and decision making, keen to remove barriers and embrace challenges.



Implementers get things done – they have the ability of transforming discussions and ideas into practical activities.


Implementers are conscientious, wanting things to be done properly. They are very practical and organised in nature hence their ability to get the job done.  Implementers can be stuck in their ways, not always open to new ideas and way of doing things.  Implementers would rather stick to old, tried and tested methods than to embrace change and innovation.

The Completer/Finisher is a task-orientated member of the group and as their name implies they like to complete tasks.

The Completer/Finisher can be an anxious person worried about deadlines and targets – they are perfectionists and have good attention to detail but also worry about delegating tasks. They would rather do something themselves and know that it was done properly than delegate to somebody else. 

Coordinator/ Chairperson


The Coordinator is often a calm, positive and charismatic member of the team.


Coordinators take on leadership or chairperson roles by clarifying goals and objectives, helping to allocate roles, responsibilities and duties within the group.  The Coordinator has excellent interpersonal skills, being able to communicate effectively with team members through good listening, verbal and non-verbal communication.

Team Worker

The Team Worker helps by giving support and encouragement to the other members of the team.

This team-oriented member is concerned about how others in the team are managing. Team Workers have sensitive, outgoing personalities and are happy to listen and act as the team counsellor.   Team Workers are usually popular members of the team, able to effectively negotiate and work towards the good of the group.  Team Workers can, however, be indecisive in group decisions – torn between the welfare of members and the ability of the team to deliver.


Resource Investigator

The Resource Investigator is a strong communicator, good at negotiating with people outside the team and gathering external information and resources.


Resource Investigators are curious and sociable in their nature they are open to new ideas and ways of accomplishing tasks.  Being flexible, innovative and open to change, Resource Investigators are listened to by other team members.  Sometimes, however, they are unrealistic in their optimism.

The Plant is an intellectual and individualistic member of the team.

The Plant is innovative and will suggest new and creative ways of problem solving within the team.  Sometimes the ideas of the Plant may be impracticable due to their highly creative nature – they may ignore known constraints when developing their ideas. Plants are often introverts who may have poor communication skills, they are loners and enjoy working away from the rest of the group.


Monitor Evaluator

The Monitor Evaluator is unlikely to get aroused in group discussions – they tend to be clever and unemotional, often detected from other members of the team.

They critically evaluate and analyse the proposals, ideas and contributions of others in the team.  Monitor Evaluators carefully weigh up advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses of ideas and proposals and therefore are usually good decision makers.



The Specialist has expert knowledge in some area that is vital to the success of the group.

The specialist provides knowledge and skills in this narrow area. Dwelling on practicalities in their expert area the Specialist may have problems applying their expertise to the wider goals of the team.  Specialists tend to be single-minded and professional.

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