Empower employees by focusing on real contributions using Areas of Responsibility

September 16, 2015 - 5 minute read - Posted by

“What do you do for work?” … Easy to answer, right?

I find this question actually really, really difficult to respond to! Typically, I break it down to “supporting users who buy our software,” or avoid it altogether. I’m not doing something I don’t love, I just get lost for 10 minutes mapping together my areas of responsibilities with examples that make sense to those outside of 7Geese. And I’m sure I’m not alone – this is a common conversation topic we’ve all been through at some point. Part of any career is how you, a single employee, fit into the larger organization structure.

Organizational structure should build an internal network of experts and create motivated, high-performing leaders.

One way of determining that organization structure is through mapping job titles and reporting structures via an ORG chart. But, do job titles motivate or engage employees as leaders?

After giving my original question some thought, “What do you do for work?”, it’s a good thing that my job takes a few sentences to describe! My areas of responsibilities aren’t confined to a static job title or description that otherwise is locked away in a drawer or PDF until performance review time. It means I’m growing a multitude of skills and I’m able to map my career to what matters most to me.

So how can organizations make sure everyone, when sitting down tomorrow at their desk with coffee, are contributing to what’s mattering most to them?

Build a team of strengths, where contributions are engaging. Learn more below how to make your team more collaborative, built around skill set strengths, not just job titles

Speak to contributions, not static descriptions of what are probably soon-to-be outdated responsibilities

It’s easier to view career paths as a means to getting a higher salary or a better job title. Regardless of what you’re title is, it’s contributions that matter. If you’re unhappy, can’t see room for growth, aren’t motivated to continue with projects… all of these are red flags you’re not allocating enough resources or energy to the things that matter most to you.

A job title doesn’t give you more interesting projects to work on. Nor does it create core competencies internally, or grow employees as leaders. You can call someone a director or coordinator, but ultimately, long-term employee retention comes down to continuous levels of happiness and fulfillment. This starts by viewing employees as self-managing decision makers.

Engage your team today: Have more peer-to-peer 1-on-1s related to inspiring self-reflection and empowering discussions about career growth. Access more tips on effective coaching in our learning resource center

Areas of Responsibility (AoRs) speak to contributions and create business stakeholders out of everyone

Rather than have all decisions flow through a management hierarchy that can hold up projects moving forward or delay solutions to roadblocks, AoRs move past a statically mapped out chart that almost becomes outdated the moment it’s updated. AoRs have the explicit intention of distributing decision making and competency areas as evenly as possible across all employees, based on skill sets and core strengths.

Don’t manage mistakes, empower everyone for success

Managing against mistakes means putting one manager in charge of every little decision. An experienced team leader can act as a safeguard, but when everything requires approval, it slows projects down. Managing for success means giving authority and ownership to individual team members – something areas of responsibilities seeks to accomplish. Every employee is responsible for (and makes the final decisions about) a piece of every aspect of a company’s growth areas. A team focused on responsibilities not titles, distributes decision-making and promotes trust and ownership for everyone.

Don’t ditch titles, but compliment them! You can watch our full webinar on AoRs below. 

Implementing AoRs in your team? I’d love to hear what’s changed in employee engagement and growth as a result! Let’s chat in the comments below ✨

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