Is your Role and Responsibility Scale in balance?


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Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013, 6:03 pm
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By Joan Lloyd
The start of the new year gets people thinking about their weight — it's the No. 1 New Year's resolution. But I'd like you to think about a different kind of weight and a different kind of scale: your Role and Responsibility Scale.

At work, most of our roles are not cut and dried. We have our job title, job description and so on, but the subtle shifting of our roles and responsibilities occurs without much conscious thought. It depends on the committees and projects we work on, and the department or group we represent.

To get a visual picture, imagine standing on two scales. If you are an IT executive, for example, most of your weight should be on the executive team Role and Responsibility (R&R) scale, but you also have one foot on the IT scale. Your main role and responsibility is to the whole organization and to your executive team.

Contrast that visualization with the opposite and see how things can go wrong. Imagine what happens if you put most of your weight on the IT scale. If your allegiance is to IT more than it is to your role as an executive, you lose the proper perspective.

Your decisions favor IT and don't take into account broader needs. You begin to protect your own resources and turf. In short, your R&R scale is out of whack.

Another example is the "Lead" position. Leads are usually technical experts who are the "go to" people in their department. They are given a hybrid role — not a regular employee and not a supervisor.

They are in the middle, with a foot on two scales. In their role, they are expected to direct the day-to-day activities of their fellow employees, make the schedule, be the trainer and coach and even provide input for performance reviews, but the hiring, firing and disciplining belong to the supervisor.

If the lead puts too much weight on the supervisor scale, employees wonder who the boss is. If they put too much weight on the employee scale, they may side with employees against management. They are straddling two scales with almost equal balance.

Or, take the case of a human resources generalist, who reports to a business leader but also has a "dotted-line" reporting relationship to the HR department. The dotted line concept is the same as the R&R scale. If you have a "solid line" reporting relationship to the business leader, most of your weight should be on the business scale.

The HR R&R scale is to keep the HR professional aligned with corporate strategies and HR initiatives. If the scale is out of balance you can become the "HR police," with too much focus on the rules and regulations of HR, rather than using the HR tools to solve business problems and provide wise counsel to the business leaders.

Now, let's throw in some committees. If you are a middle manager in the sales department and you have been asked to join a company-wide committee, how does your R&R scale work? What role do they want you to play and what are your responsibilities—and how can you balance that with your primary responsibilities?

Many people make the mistake of joining committees and task forces without having open, clarifying conversations about the amount of "weight" this new scale will require. That's why their R&R scale gets out of balance.

They might spend too much time on the new committee and take their foot off of the department scale. Or, they may only view their participation through the narrow view of their own department, and not contribute enough to reach a good company-wide outcome.

You may have only a few scales or you may have many. Just like your New Year's resolution to watch your scale and manage your weight, check in periodically on your Roles and Responsibilities scale, too.


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee-based executive coach, organizational & leadership development strategist. Email your question to Joan at info@joanlloyd.com and visit www.JoanLloyd.com to search an archive of more than 1400 of Joan’s articles.
















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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