The Role We Play

On March 4, 2016, in Insights, Workplace Culture, by Phillip A. Jones

cropped-banner_compass_1.jpg‘All’s the world’s a stage’ wrote Shakespeare, and I think that’s especially true for our work life.

We’re selected for a role, or we shape one for ourselves; and with that comes responsibilities, behaviours, and a defined place in the workplace culture.

If you’re a subject matter expert, then that role can be clearly defined, and for many people it’s comforting.

Most people want clearly understood parameters of their place at work: what’s expected of them, what’s makes for good work, their responsibilities + outputs and their reporting paths.

Not many are fans of ambiguity.

Many of us really just want to do good work, feel ok, or better, about it – and go home without it hanging over our heads.

For others the scope of the role can have fuzzy boundaries, especially in a leadership role where your accountabilities include managing people and team cultures, which by their nature are fluid and imperfect.

The role we play at work is intended to shapes our thoughts + skills to a particular end that serves the organisations goals. Collectively the workforce should bring to bear all that’s required for the collective to succeed.

But we’re more than out job title clearly.

We carry in us life + work experience, skills and qualities that are not always brought to bear in our daily work.  Especially over time in a role, many behaviours become routine or unthinking, and those other parts not directly relevant gather some dust.

The downside of this is that the organisation can miss out in a changing world and market place the skills and experiences in their teams that can be useful for it to adapt and thrive.

Ever had those chats at work, at a lunch or after work drinks, where you discover the other facets of a colleague. ‘I didn’t know you had done that!”?

Usually, we’re pretty shy of talking about our expertise unless prompted. Once in the job, after the interview, you just tend to get on with things.

But by creating conversations at semi-regular intervals in the workplace that can reveal these experiences, skills and interests you can reveal hidden talents that don’t see the light of day when people are immersed in their roles.  It could be that rather than a new hire, you’ve the skill set you need sitting next to you.  Another mechanism could be an intranet with a person’s resumes (even their LinkedIn profile) and achievements outlined that could be used when forming a new team for a project.

By creating a way for a person to reveal their skills, contacts and insights outside of their main role you can tap into a powerful resource and perhaps enrich the team members experience of their work.

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