Many of my coaching clients struggle with their time. What that really means is they struggle to manage themselves and other people. We can all get stuck in repeating patterns of unhelpful personal behaviours without self-awareness. Annoyingly, other people also derail our carefully laid plans for the day. Wouldn’t you prefer to focus on the right things for you, be slicker and have more impact as a result? One common obstacle is being unclear about your real job role and responsibilities. This post looks at the causes, a lens to look through and some ways to help you clear the fog.

Job Role Foggers

You often get a job description and role specification in the application pack when you apply for a job and when you start your new job role. Your new boss will probably outline what the job entails and what to expect. Then the reality kicks in. Here are some common job role problems:

  • Overload – the role is too broad and deep (not the same as workload).
  • Underload  – not broad, deep or stretching enough.
  • Ambiguous – it’s not clear what you are responsible and accountable for.
  • Conflicting – duplication or in contradiction with other people’s roles.
  • Expanding – ‘mission creep’ where your role becomes a different one.

Job Role Reality

Here’s a lens to look through to understand why so many roles seem foggy. A job role is usually based on a mix of prescription, perception, and personality. The reality lies somewhere in the middle!job role

  • Must do – what the employer prescribes via job description, role specification, policies, procedures, values.
  • Can do – what other people like your boss and colleagues perceive the role is about, and what they think you should be doing (often because that’s how they would do it or how a previous manager did it).
  • Will do – what you bring as a personality, how you like and want to do the job role.

How to clear the fog

Try putting these fog lights on to see more clearly:

  1. Selfie – you can do it, you should do it, but you don’t want to. What’s holding you back? Is this the right role for you? Check out your attitude to the role.
  2. Clarify – you want to do it, should be doing it, but can’t do it. Have an honest conversation with your boss about what’s really happening, the personal and business impact it has on you and others, what you would like to happen and what support they can provide. Share assumptions and negotiate where possible. Then tell people so they get it.
  3. Empower – you can do it, want to do it, but it’s not in your job description. Check out if you’re stepping on someone else’s toes and get agreement. Otherwise, just do it!
  4. Develop – you want to do it, should be doing it, but you can’t because you lack the skills or confidence. Collaborate with others who complement your strengths and who can fill the gap. Seek coaching (check out your coachability here). Get a mentor (check out being a brilliant mentee here). Share issues with peers. Join an online learning community. Observe the way others do a similar role. Shadow them. Do something!

What fogs your role? Want coaching? Get in touch!