Inspiration and lessons for your leadership journey!
“Our research suggests that boundary personnel in service firms should strive for higher perceived role clarity to be able to deliver higher service quality.”
Here’s a quick quiz. Mark or circle any of the below bullet points that may be happening in your team or team members:
If you checked any one or more of these, your team members may be suffering from what is known as role ambiguity – they may know the goal, but they don’t know their role. Role clarity – and its opposite, role ambiguity – have been studied extensively in teams and organizations for nearly 50 years all over the world.
That research shows that role clarity and role ambiguity impact each of the bullet points above. In addition, lack of clarity impedes the opportunity to improve at one’s job and therefore, to obtain desired rewards and outcomes. That’s not a good scenario for you, your team members, and your organization.
Job descriptions and new employee training isn’t enough – and neither is thinking, “They should just know what to do.” Researchers have found that employees are often unclear about how to do their jobs, when certain tasks should be performed, and the criteria by which their performance will be judged. Often, as employees gain tenure and experience, their job expectations can change and that’s not always clear.
Over time, new job role tasks and expectations can be added (and added and added…), increasing role ambiguity and causing a related phenomenon called role overload – a result of always demanding ‘doing more with less.’ I’ve seen this far too often in recent years.
While there are more formal ways to increase role clarity, such as responsibility charting, job/role analysis, or role negotiation, there’s no substitution for frequent, clear communications with direct reports – in person is, of course, always best. This can take the form of “rounding” or checking in on a daily basis, weekly or biweekly one-on-ones, telephone calls, emails, etc.
We’re often very good about communicating goals, scorecards, and outcome metrics. But when was the last time you helped clarify what your direct reports roles and behaviors are in order to get there? How do you consistently connect expectations (role clarity) with outcome metrics (goal clarity)?
Don’t be a leader whose employees or team members know the goal but don’t know their role.
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Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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