Roles & responsibilities of effective teamwork

Written by sally murphy | 13/05/2017
Roles & responsibilities of effective teamwork
Make sure that everyone involved in teamwork is truly on the same page. (teamwork image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

When approached with the right attitude, teamwork can be a huge benefit to everyone involved, improving productivity and building strong relationships. But when handled badly, teamwork can result in frustration, resentment, and wasted time and energy. By defining the roles and responsibilities of teamwork and making sure that everyone understands and respects these guidelines, teamwork can be one of the most effective tools for any workplace.


According to Reference for Business, defining clear responsibilities from the start is one of the best ways to build effective teamwork. When responsibilities are left open and not designated to specific members of the team, sometimes this results in one or two members doing most of the work. In order to avoid resentment, ensure that each individual member of the team has a strong idea of what his responsibilities include. Members should also avoid taking on others' responsibilities and causing frustration or confusion.


Roles & responsibilities of effective teamwork
Team members should learn to work within their unique roles. (Teamwork concept: business colleagues image by Vladimir Melnik from

It's important to define a role for each member of a team, based on her personal strengths and preferences. According to MindTools, Dr. Belbin, a prominent researcher, identified nine different roles that members of a team will naturally adopt. If you are aware of these roles, you can work to create more balanced teams with a broad range of talent and fewer weaknesses. By being aware and respectful of different styles, team members can also work together more sympathetically.

Belbin's Nine Roles

MindTools divides Belbin's nine teamwork roles the following way. The Action-Oriented group includes Shapers (dynamic and extroverted), Implementers (hands-on and goal-oriented), and Completers (who focus on the final touch). The People-Oriented group includes Coordinators (natural leaders), Team Workers (diplomatic and supportive), and Resource Investigators (who explore new options). The Thought-Oriented group includes Plants (creative and independent), Monitor-Evaluators (analytical and objective thinkers), and Specialists (who possess specialised skills). Using Belbin's guidelines, you can identify different roles in a group and figure out how each member can take on suitable responsibilities.

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