And What Do You Do?
Updated: Jan 27
Many of the leaders and managers I work with don’t know what their role is.
On a high level they get it.
“My job is to ‘lead’ the team as we ‘fill-in-the-blank’.”
“My role is to ‘manage’ this team so that we ‘fill-in-the-blank’.”
But when I ask them to be more specific about what they think they are expected to do, they often give me a confused look, or revert to the language of their job description.
They tell me that they are supposed to:
“Identify areas of concern that could impact performance”
“Oversee recruitment and orientation and manage the performance of employees”
“Assign and supervise the work of team members”
“Provide leadership with respect to the work of the team”
“Respond to requests from internal and external stakeholders in a timely manner”
No matter where you are in your organization, or life for that matter, you have multiple roles to play. Whether you are a senior leader or a first-time manager, each of the roles you occupy has responsibilities associated with it, and the better you understand your role, the better you will understand your responsibilities.
Sometimes the role is very clear, and sometimes it is not. When you have the benefit of clarity you are ahead of the game, and that can help you figure out what your responsibilities are.
But even when you are not clear, you still bear those responsibilities. So that means you need to figure out what those responsibilities might be, and what expectations others have for you.
A lack of clarity can be very challenging.
Having a job description certainly provides a bit of a checklist of activities that a leader or manager might be expected to undertake, but in my experience, it doesn’t really provide much insight. As a leader or manager, you need to be very clear about what you are responsible for doing or delivering day by day, hour by hour, that will add significant value to the organization.
This not only provides you with a roadmap, but also helps you to build confidence in yourself within the role.
When people come to me for help, they are often looking for solutions to the following problems or challenges:
1. Not understanding what exactly they are supposed to be doing in their job.
2. Not knowing how to set boundaries for themselves and the people they work with. This is often related to being overwhelmed all the time.
3. Continuing to be a “doer” instead of delegating or trusting others to “do”.
4. Not knowing how to set and manage expectations.
5. And needing to manage up.
When we start to address these practical things, we also discover that there is a need to become more self-aware (which plays into all of the above), and a need to feel more self-confident in the role. Gaining self-confidence is a natural outcome of clarifying the above.
At Manage Better, everything we do is focused on building capacity.
Building capacity in individuals so that they can clearly see what their skills and “learning opportunities” are. So that they can fully understand what they are meant to do and organize their strengths to provide the best possible outcomes for the themselves and the organization.
Building capacity in teams so that the members can align to deliver their best possible results collectively, and use their synergy to support the organization.
And building capacity in the leaders so that they, and others in the organization, are clear on direction and purpose.
And all of this starts with an understanding of self and of others. And getting clarity on the roles that each inhabits.
I have worked with managers and leaders across many sectors, and what I have observed is that, regardless of sector or managerial level, each leader and manager has three main realms of responsibility. They are quite straightforward, but very important to understand and to pay attention to.
Whether you are a senior long-term leader, or a first-time manager, the three realms you are responsible for are:
Managing your team, and
Managing your network.
The relative importance of each, and the time and energy you spend in each, will vary day to day and over time. It will also be very dependent on the type of work you do, the size of your organization, and the culture of the organization. The realms are also connected and inter-related, so as you become more proficient in each realm, you are supporting the others.
In this blog, I will be exploring these realms and I look forward to providing you with more insights.