What’s your role?

Ask this question of a team member in an organization that has not optimized its talent, and the response is a long list of tasks related to functional responsibilities.

Ask the same question of someone on a team that is realizing its potential and the answer is much different. At the top of their list is this responsibility: I’m here to ensure our team succeeds in achieving our shared objectives.

Job descriptions gone bad: When organizations sow seeds of dysfunctional teamwork by establishing and emphasizing function-centric job descriptions, rather than stressing the greatest responsibility of doing whatever must be done for the team and enterprise to win.

Here’s another way of looking at it. Who would you rather have on your team?

The person who says, “I’m responsible for finance.” Or, “I’m the project person.” Or, “I do the HR stuff.” Or this person: “I’m on this team to do whatever it takes to ensure we execute our strategy. I do this with an enterprise mindset and deliver my functional responsibilities in ways that set my teammates up for the greatest possible success.”

Yes, it’s important to know who’s going to do what, when, and be clear on the assignment of swim lanes. Yet, teams that achieve big things know this simple truth: When we focus on what separates us, we are far less likely to act in ways that unite us.

Do the job descriptions of your team members make it clear that delivering the team’s objective is the highest priority?

What’s your role on the team?

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