Position descriptions – the why.

This week, I released my Position Description Workbook. It’s a free tool that will help you get clear on the responsibilities, tasks and key stakeholders for each role in your organization. If you haven’t already, email info@raremgmt.net to get your copy. 

Today, in true Helen fashion, I wanted to share the why. Or at least one of the reasons why. Why having clear position descriptions that place each role into the context of your organization and its mission, is critical to a healthy and collaborative work environment.  

So here we go.  

When your people know where their role starts and ends, when it is clear who is responsible for what, your team can work together to achieve common goals. Because each person knows their role and can play their part. The rules of engagement are clear. 

In contrast, when there is a blurring of responsibilities, when it is unclear who is responsible for a task, a project or an outcome, when your people do not know what role they need to play to achieve the common goal, well nothing much gets done.  And the stuff that does get done is less innovative, creative, efficient and productive.  

Because when there is a blurring of responsibilities something really interesting happens: people start to grab onto the things they can control. And they hold on super tight. People may not trust that others will get things done. People may not trust that they will get recognition for their work because it is unclear who is responsible for it. Lack of trust = alarm bells. Hello toxic work culture. And now collaboration becomes impossible.  

It’s counter intuitive I know, but I have seen it over and over again. Business leaders have excellent intentions. They want to create a culture where everyone is willing and able to help each other out. Where no one will feel “too good” or “too important” for a task. Where everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They want flexibility. And so, they resist position descriptions. Too prescriptive, they say.

But in not having clearly defined roles, they are depriving each of their people of the opportunity to do their thing, do it really well, and collaborate with others who are doing their thing really well, and then together producing something wonderful. 

So, what to do?  

Be super clear with each of your people about what their role is. Have position descriptions. And make sure that the descriptions place each role into the context of your organization and mission.  

And if you need a hand, give me a shout. That’s why you have a people whisperer in your life. 

Until next week,
H