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At one point, I became a manufacturing vice president, where I would be responsible for plant operations. When meeting with one of the owners after accepting the job offer, I asked what he expected of me. He responded that he trusted me to make the right decisions. He further stated that he would let me know if any instances were not agreeable to him and his business partner. When they later came to me to tell me they had decided to go in a different direction and my services were no longer needed, I guess they did let me know. As we shift from our focus last week of the common knowledge and philosophy of change management, our topic this week is the need for clearly defined roles.
Clearly defined job roles will eliminate any kind of dilemma. It wll help an employee better understand what they are supposed to achieve as a part of their job description. ― Pooja Agnihotr
I should have known that my days with that company would have a short life expectation. I was the latest in many of those who previously held the position. However, in hindsight, I should have asked more questions when they offered me the job. It turned out that they were expecting the person running the plant to be someone using old-school autocratic leadership. That was at odds with my servant leadership approach to the work. I would learn a valuable lesson regarding the need for clearly defined roles.
I have worked in several settings where employees' job duties were unclear. Sometimes, two people would duplicate efforts, not knowing that another person was doing the same work. Worse yet, there were occasions when a critical task would go undone because there was no clear understanding of who was responsible. Establishing defined roles in a business is essential as it contributes to the organization's overall effectiveness and efficiency, which is crucial to success. Here are some key reasons why having well-defined roles is vital in business:
• Accountability – When there are clearly defined roles, and everyone knows their responsibilities. It is easier to see if they meet their objectives and to hold individuals and teams accountable for their performance.
• Clarity and Focus – When employees know their specific tasks, it prevents confusion. The workforce has a complete understanding of their responsibilities and expectations.
• Customer Satisfaction – A company's customers will have a better overall experience when employees know their roles and can perform them effectively as a more organized and responsive team.
• Decision-Making - Clearly defined roles empower individuals or teams to make decisions more rapidly within their purview without needing approval for every small matter.
• Efficiency – A clear role definition significantly reduces the duplication of effort and minimizes wasting time and resources because employees know their areas of expertise and responsibility.
• Employee Satisfaction – Reducing role ambiguity leads to higher employee satisfaction when they have clear roles and responsibilities that help them understand their career paths and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
• Goal Alignment – An organization with well-defined roles helps ensure that individual and team goals are cohesive with the organization's overall objectives, which are crucial for achieving strategic goals and maintaining organizational cohesion.
• Innovation and Creativity – Employee roles should have flexibility that allows permission to explore solutions using imaginativeness and originality within their areas of responsibility.
• Resource Allocation – As resources become more scarce, the organization must allocate resources, such as time, budget, and personnel, more effectively to ensure they can yield the most significant results.
• Risk Management - Providing specific assignments and responsibilities to members of the organization can reduce the risk of errors, miscommunication, and conflicts that can arise when responsibilities are unclear, which can prevent costly mistakes and legal issues.
• Scalability – A company's growth increases the need for making responsibilities clear by integrating new team members without knowledge of informal assignments when working as a smaller operation.
• Teamwork – Employees with clear roles that leverage their strengths and delegate tasks in alignment with their expertise will operate as a more efficient and effective unit.
Organizations that can demonstrate a commitment to establishing clear definitions of roles that work cohesively at all levels and across disciplines will realize higher levels of success. The work will require a significant investment of time to achieve this level of discipline, but the results will put the company in a more competitive position.
An environment of ambiguity in individual roles can lead to duplication of efforts or failure to complete essential tasks. Establishing defined roles in a business is critical as it contributes to the organization's overall effectiveness and efficiency. Organizations that can demonstrate a commitment to establishing clear definitions of roles that work cohesively at all levels and across disciplines will realize higher levels of success.
Leaders and managers of organizations that fail to operate efficiently and effectively should investigate whether there is a clear definition of roles and responsibilities. If this is an issue, the information in the article How To Define Team Roles and Responsibilities in 4 Steps provides guidelines for improving this aspect of the business.
In hindsight, I sincerely appreciate working for a Japanese joint venture between DENSO and Toyota Industries Corporation. While other issues made it difficult for me outside of work, that training gave me an understanding of the value of a clear definition of roles and responsibilities and the discipline necessary as a supervisor to maintain them.
Next week's blog will shift to the essential element of attention to detail integral to becoming a humanist manufacturing organization.
To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstratgicsustainability.com.
I encourage you to read my book Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations. The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers. You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.
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