Episode 5: Write a Job Description that Fits RightJan 25, 2022
"We need to make some role changes on our team. Should I write the job description around their strengths or based on what the organization needs?"
SO, WHAT ARE THEIR STRENGTHS?
This might be a really good time to use assessments if you haven’t. Or, pull out old assessment results that might have been shelved for a while.
- Plot the strengths of each individual on your team to see how they all fit together.
- Step back and simply make observations.
- Is your team’s strengths lopsided? Meaning you have a lot of similar strengths?
- Are you easily able to spot matches between the strengths of the team and why the team does certain things really well?
- Are there “ah-has” where you would say to yourself – “That explains a lot”
A word of caution: Assessments can tell you about natural inclinations of a person on your team – they cannot predict performance or tell you how well someone might do a particular task or in a particular role. So, they really need to be one piece to the puzzle to answering your question.
Assessments are not a replacement for conversation. A conversation can help your team members put their strengths into their own words then they own it – it’s not just on a piece of paper. A conversation can also keep you from stereotyping or making assumptions.
I’ve used an activity from the book by Marcus Buckingham, Go Put Your Strengths To Work.
- Ask every team member to make two columns on a piece of paper or a computer doc
- Label on column “I loved it” and the other column “I Loathed It”
- In the loved it column: when they feel strong, meaning it gives them energy
- In the loathed it column: when they feel weak, meaning that it costs them energy.
- Then, have a conversation about it
WHAT DOES THE ORGANIZATION NEED?
You already know that as you are re-thinking roles on your team - the whole reason you are making the change is because it’s in the best interest of the organization. As a leader you don’t take that responsibility lightly.
So, just like you need the strengths of the individuals on the team you also need to assess what the organization needs, too.
- Listen to the episode to learn a quick sorting activity on tasks and roles
- Utilize this activity to help your team identify what the organization needs
- Then assign roles to the tasks that need to be done based on strengths
While it doesn’t create a 100% match to strengths, you will see higher engagement and willingness to pick up that 20-30% of things people don’t like to do. Then, re-do this conversation regularly!
HOW DO YOU MAKE A MATCH?
Imagine a slider with individual strengths at one end and organizational needs at the other. Every role you assign is moving that slider around somewhere in between. For a particular job you may slide it a little closer to the individual strengths because you see potential for that person to be a future fit for the organization.
You might put the slider more toward the organization in seasons where a role is critical to the success of a particular program or the organization is in a season where the role is necessary to achieve goals or move the organization forward.
Take the time to think through your criteria though because if you don’t you could erode trust in that person’s competence or your leadership. Neither of which will get you the team you’ve always wanted –
- Don’t adjust roles to fit individuals just because you like someone
- Don’t create work-arounds so individuals can avoid what they don’t like
- Don’t push the tasks they don’t like on other team members – think bigger strategy
Got a mismatch on your team? Not sure how to address it?
- Own it – you hired them and you can help them
- Have a strengths conversation and find out what fits and what doesn’t
- Be honest about the mismatch and co-create a plan to help
- Connect them to strategies that would help them grow (skills development, mentoring, more frequent check-ins from you, etc)
Then, you need to give yourself a whole lot of grace because it’s not easy to dial that in perfectly, so an honest, open, and frequent conversation is your friend.
I’ve partnered with Amplify Mission Network and together we are offering a 6-month cohort learning group on February 23rd. So, if you want to grow together with other leaders in the same boat as you, sign up by January 31st!!
Amplify Mission Network Mid-Management Training: Learn More and Sign Up!
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