Your job description isn't "whatever no one else wants to do"

working hardDo you ever feel like you delegate tasks and responsibilities based on your team members’ needs, rather than your own company’s needs? And who ends up doing all the jobs that no one wants to do or can’t do? That would be you.

But that’s not in the job description for a business owner. I’ve seen business owners who live like this. They are busy. Always busy. But their business isn’t moving forward. They are often alone in their office at 5:30 p.m., and they are there for another few hours.

Meanwhile, their employees are home with their families. These business owners are frustrated, but they aren’t sure what to do about that frustration. Most times when I see this, the business owner has delegated responsibilities based on what their employees enjoy or want to do. The theory is that people will be more motivated and excited when they are doing something they want to do. But designing job descriptions to fit the employees’ wants and needs often leaves a pile of chores that no one wants to do. And if they’re not doing it, you’re doing it. Now who is unfulfilled and unmotivated?

This is why it’s important to start the process of writing job descriptions with a review of what the COMPANY needs. First, lay out all the tasks that the company needs to accomplish in order to succeed. Then, group those tasks according the the skills involved and the access to information required for successful completion of the tasks. Those bundles you’ve created are jobs, and should be made into sample job descriptions.

Once you have those job descriptions, it’s time to recruit people who are good at those tasks. People who are good at the tasks will be motivated to succeed by their own competency. So, you were on the right track before if that’s what you were doing. Only this time, you’re going to think of your company first and then the person, not the other way around.

Some of the people on your staff may be able to be good at those jobs, and that’s fantastic, so make the assignment. If that person isn’t on your staff, find someone who does. Once you’ve assigned tasks that the company needs to have done to people who are good at doing them, then make sure that people are doing the whole job and doing it well. That is the job that only the leader (that’s you!) can do, and it should be a major focus of your time and effort.

Don’t get caught in the trap of accommodating team members. You hire people to get a job done and to help your business. Make sure they do it.

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