8 Best Team Building Methods – Belbin and Maccoby Methods

Published Categorized as Project Team
best team building methods
best team building methods

This article is the first part of a 4 segments series on best team building methods. If you have found this article through search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) I would recommend you start by reading the head piece of the series – The 8 best team building methods – to get an overall view on the topic and then follow the links to discover the entire series.

Best Team Building Methods : Belbin Team Roles

Use as a checklist, every time you form a new team, to confirm that you have the right mix of people for the job.

For any team to be successful, Meredith Belbin argues that the following roles must be undertaken by nominated members of the team:

  • Chair/Coordinator sets the agenda, is calm and confident and responsible for getting the balance of the team right.
  • Shaper aims to influence the team’s decisions; is extrovert and willing to be unpopular if the job requires it.
  • Plant/innovator generates ideas and develops innovative ways to solve problems.
  • Monitor/evaluator is analytical, dispassionate and objective, but may upset team mates with criticisms.
  • Implementer works hard to turn ideas into action; may annoy teammates because of their reluctance to compromise.
  • Resource investigators are often crafty and personable; they find the resources required and suss out what the opposition is up to.
  • Teamworker is sociable and conscientious; brings the team together and helps sort out any of the team’s inter-personal and professional issues.
  • Completer/finisher is determined and committed but can be seen as too keen to get the job done at any cost.
  • Specialist provides technical expertise in key areas; may annoy others because they focus too narrowly on their specialist area.


  1. Start with the end in mind and identify the team’s aims and objectives, the resources available and the deadlines you must meet.
  2. Identify who supports/opposes the project. This information is vital. During any project problems will arise and you need to know who you can trust.
  3. Make sure that the recruits to your team can cover all of the functions listed on the facing page – even if that means some people covering two or more functions.
  4. Use a combination of personal interviews and Belbin’s Team Roles (more on that here)
  5. Questionnaire (available online) to identify each person’s role/s.
  6. Brief each person on what you expect of them. Then monitor progress, identify problems and implement remedies. If you’re not the problem (and managers often are) consider the following:
    • A lack of clarity about the team’s objectives. What’s your Shaper doing?
    • Under performance by the team. How good is your Completer?
    • An inability to overcome problems. What’s your Plant doing?
    • Poor analysis of problems. Does your Monitor need a wake-up call?
    • Difficulties in turning ideas into practical solutions. What’s your Implementer up to?
    • Lack of resources. Do you need to replace your Resource Investigator with someone who can duck and dive.
    • A lack of harmony and commitment to the team’s objectives. Has the Teamworker upset the team? An inability to finish tasks. Has your Completer become bored with the project?
    • Lack of specialist knowledge. Does your Specialist have the right expertise for the project?

Once you have identified the problem deal with it decisively.


  • Do I have the right mix of people in the team?
  • How Will I monitor progress? What are my milestones?

Best Team Building Methods : Maccoby Gamesman Theory

Use to identify the type of leader your team needs.

Michael Maccoby concentrated on the role and responsibilities of the team manager. He identified four character types that can be found acting as team manager. Which one are you?

  • Jungle fighter – Thrives on power and a desire to win
  • Games man –  Takes risks and loves new ideas/tasks
  • Craftsman – Expects staff to go along with their ideas
  • Company man – Values discipline, loyalty and service

Craftsman: Leads by issuing commands and expects staff to follow orders. Individualistic, they can be inventive, self-contained, resolute and sincere but also obstinate and suspicious.

Jungle fighter: Tough, bold and competitive. They thrive on power and the desire to win and will fight to protect the team. But they can also be ego-driven, paternalistic and authoritarian and upset team members with their aggressive attitude.

Company man: A true team player who is loyal, hard-working and eager to please. They thrive on creating an atmosphere of discipline and order but are too conservative to lead a team where innovative thinking or risk taking is required.

Games man: A risk taker who is fascinated by new techniques and ideas and loves problem solving. They thrive on competition and generate enthusiasm within the team. But they can be detached, dispassionate and fail to inspire loyalty.


Identify which stereotype you are. Be realistic when you make this call. Better still, ask others what characteristics you display. Don’t use the terminology that Maccoby uses – that might scare people. Depending on the relationship you have with team members you can be blunt or subtle with your questioning. The important thing is to find out how you are perceived.

Once you know what staff think of you take action to emphasize the positive aspects of your character and minimize the negative. Consider importing some of the virtues of the other characters. Of course some characteristics could be ingrained and you may find it difficult to change. For example, a Company Man might struggle to lead a team where blue sky, innovative thinking is required. In this instance, delegate the role of leading on innovation to one of the other members of the team.

Recognize that different types of team leaders are required at different stages of the team’s evolution. Craftsmen are essential in the beginning, making tools and weapons for protection. Jungle Fighters use the tools to conquer the environment and make it safe. Once the environment has been tamed, Company Men move in and start the socialization process. As people become a cohesive unit Gamesmen move in and drive the survivors to higher levels of performance.


  • At what stage of development is the organization/team?
  • What type of leader does the team require? Can I provide that type of leadership? If not, whose help on the team can I enlist?

Closing down this article I will provide you with several links in order to explore all the content on best team building methods. If you want to check out the second part of the series follow the link : Best Team Building Methods Part 2 or if you want to go to the beginning follow 8 Best Team Building Methods You Should Know.

Hope you enjoyed our content, and see you in the next one.

By Alex Puscasu

I am a Project Management practitioner with more than 5 years experience in hardware and software implementation projects. Also a bit of a geek and a great WordPress enthusiast. I hope you enjoy the content, and I encourage you to share your knowledge with the world.