Have you ever stopped to ask what your job description is? In business, an employee’s job description is the foundation of everything: selection, training, setting expectations, performance review, promotion, and potentially a lay-off. Before we can do anything else, we have to understand the requirements of the role.
Job descriptions differ, but they all include some degree of essential responsibilities or tasks, knowledge / skill / ability expectations, and experience requirements. Essentially, the job description says what the role is responsible for and what is required to successfully perform that job. Despite the time and effort that goes into creating a job description, many employees end up doing work that is not at all what they were hired to do. With excitement, candidates take a new position, eager to apply their skills doing something they enjoy.
A few months into the role, those eager new hires are starting to wonder when they are going to get to what they were hired to do. Within a year, they can’t even remember what their job description even said. Sometimes this works out okay, but when employees aren’t clear on their role and expectations, it typically results in increased stress, low engagement, and a general state of dissatisfaction. Without clear expectations, it is difficult to know what you will truly be held accountable for, and it is nearly impossible to accurately prioritize. This leaves employees feeling lost and insecure.
When a child has clear expectations, they may not like it, but they understand what is expected and know what the consequences are. They have an opportunity to choose the consequences when they don’t follow through. Consistency is critical for helping children make the connections and feel “safe” within the guidelines that have been established. Adults are no different. We need and want to know what our role is and the expectations that go along with that role. When we don’t get that, we are left unsure about how our actions will be received.
In life, we also have roles we were uniquely called to do. Our unique interests, skills, and experiences align with something special. Unfortunately, we too often find ourselves performing tasks that we were not uniquely “hired” to perform. Although it’s wonderful to be helpful, assisting others in their roles, saying “yes” to one thing is saying “no” to another. Often, it is our own essential responsibilities that we end up skimping on because we aren’t even aware of what they are. Ultimately, we are held accountable for what is on our job descriptions, not on others’.
Regarding your job description, I have two questions that only you can answer:
- Do you know what your job description is?
- Are you doing it?
In this next series, we will walk through the process of defining what is on your job description and making sure the majority of the work you do is in alignment with that description. I will also outline a process for helping you stay on track and move in the direction of your essential responsibilities. Sure, there will be times when you must deviate from your description and complete tasks that are not considered essential. Absolutely. The key here is to change the way you think about your unique job description and daily activities. I want you to have a new sense of awareness around what your job here on earth actually is.
I will give you a hint. It probably isn’t Housekeeper. Sure, you likely need to perform those tasks from time to time, but when it comes to your final performance review, how clean your baseboards were likely isn’t going to be a significant topic of conversation. We will get into all of this in the next few posts. Get ready to get knee-deep in writing that job description. I know. I can hardly contain my excitement either.