9 Key Roles Essential for an Effective Team

Posted August 31, 2018

When starting a project, it’s only natural to think about the team that you’ll need to bring your project from inception to completion. But how do you go about finding the lucky few to join you on your endeavor? Effective team building is a staple for any successful leader or organization. Not everybody works the same or in the same style, so it’s important to create a balance to make sure your projects and tasks are completed not only effectively and in a timely manner, but cooperatively.

In any team, there are key roles that must be accounted for to ensure everyone is working towards a common goal cohesively. Here are 9 archetypes (courtesy of a study by R. Meredith Belbin) that are essential when building your team for your next big project. See if you can identify what roles you still need for your next big team collaboration. 

Every team needs that person who is an expert conversationalist, the person who can work a room without batting an eyelash. This is what Belbin refers to as the “Resource Investigator.” This is the team member that you send to trade shows to garner leads, mix, network, and converse. These people tend to be personable and able to connect quickly. They often have the largest business card collection and always has, “a guy for that.” They’ll often be the spark to the flame, but may need some encouragement to keep burning as brightly as when they started.


Within any organization, conflict is bound to arise. That’s why you need The Cheerleader (Teamworker according to Belbin). This person is the glue to your team, they’ll step in to avoid conflict, settle disputes, and keep the team meshed together. Though not a direct leadership role, this team member will be the one to keep people happy, smiling, and working together to achieve a common goal. They’re quick to pick up on tension, see what needs to be done, and how to make everyone get along.

Belbin’s “Co-ordinator” role is what we at AdVenture Games would call the Delegator. Very diplomatic and goal-oriented, the Delegator is the person you want doling out assignments. They weigh individuals’ strengths, talents, and shortcomings to find the quickest and most direct route to a positive end result. They’re the managers of productivity and can be counted on to keep everyone on task. However, in assigning so many roles, they may often forget to give themselves an equal balance of the workload. Don’t let your delegator become your procrastinator.

Every team needs an Idea Guy, or as Belbin calls, the “Plant.” These team members are easily able to quickly and creatively generate unique ideas. They’re the out-of-the-box thinkers that find solutions that may not always be obviously present. Quick to present ideas that may sound “too good to be true,” this role is great for those who are imaginative and love to use various techniques of problem-solving. Due to their idealistic manner, though, they may often be lost in a flurry of ideas and need some direction to find the right and best solution.  

Just as much as every team needs and Idea Guy, they also need a “No Guy” for balance. A team with a consistent stream of creative solutions is great, but somebody has to be the one to keep the team grounded. This role should be logical and sensible. They’re methodical and helps bring the good ideas to the surface while quashing those that seem just a little to out there. Players in this role are often very critical, sometimes to a fault, and can actually hinder the decision-making process with their criticism if left unchecked.

The Specialist is the team member that has the most unique, specific, and key knowledge of the particular subject of the project. If the project is involves animals, the Specialist would be your on-staff zoologist, or plants, your botanist. The Specialist on your team is dedicated to the subject matter, highly-skilled, and knowledgeable of all the technical aspects of the subject matter. They’re your local pro, so trust their opinion. That being said, avoid getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty details as they may tend to over-inform to get their point across.

Some teams, especially when working in larger groups, can get off task pretty quickly. That’s why your team needs The Engine. Belbin calls this role the “Shaper.” Simply stated, this person is the drive keeping your team moving in the right direction and motivated to keep on pace. These team members are self-motivated and thrive under the pressure of a deadline. Using their inner motivation, they’re ready and eager to keep the entire team just as motivated as they are. The Drivers work quickly and tend to make short work of long lists of tasks, but can be irritated when they don’t see other team members working just as diligently. Let them be your motivating engine, but don’t let them burn out from their zeal!


With so many ideas flying around and constant deliberation, information and plans can get lost to the wind. The Architect (“Implementor” by Belbin) is your team’s best defense against that. Your Architect creates the blueprint for the project based on the best ideas, skills, and tasks within your team. They turn ideas into action and delegate appropriately. Not necessarily a leading role, they definitely support getting the ball rolling and starting the fire. Though meticulous and detail-oriented, the Architects can be reluctant to release the reins on a plan they’ve devised, or stray from the predetermined path, so work with them to get comfortable with relinquishing some control.

Now, your project is complete and all tasks are finalized, but who will be the one to polish the final product, to cross the T’s and dot the I’s? This is your Quality Control. Also known to Belbin as the “Completer Finisher,” this team member will analyze every word, sentence, image, and line with a fine-toothed comb in search of any last-minute typos, factual errors, inconsistencies, and the like. Your Quality Control polishes and edits everything to make sure it’s presentation-ready by their standards. They’re hyper-critical, sometimes too critical, and can be an overt perfectionist, but their critical habits will make your project sparkle and shine.

No team can be successful without some sort of balance, and it’s critical to make sure that when selecting roles, the needs for your team members are noted and addressed. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to find the best fit for all to ensure your mutual success.

We at AdVenture Games Inc. are experts at helping you to find your team’s strengths and weaknesses by devising a plan that helps work on them exclusively. How closely a team collaborates is one of the positive parts of employee engagement as a whole. We can’t wait to help you to improve upon your staff’s collaboration skills and to improve your business overall. Let’s get started today!