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Enable team Collaboration by Structuring Work the Smart Way

Published 26th September 2016 by Thomas Bale
Team Collaboration

High performing teams have roles with clearly defined responsibilities. That starts with clear job descriptions and tasks structured in a way that gives everyone meaning, purpose and direction.

Clearly specified roles for individual team members is crucial to enabling collaboration and team work. It’s the leader’s role to ensure that everyone is absolutely clear on roles and responsibilities. Without clarity on roles individuals are very likely to waste time negotiating responsibilities, questioning boundaries and missing tasks by failing to fully understand requirements. Getting it right starts with a proactive approach to structuring work; one of the nine indicators of the Investors in People framework. Our research has shown three areas that the most successful leaders focus on when structuring work:

  1. Designing roles. In the very best organisations roles are designed in order to meet the changing needs of the organisation’s strategy. There is clear accountability, work is interesting and the capabilities of every individual are developed through the way work is structured.
  2. Creating autonomy in roles. Each role has clear decision making authority. Policies and practices are aligned to help people take ownership, act and work quickly to get the job done.
  3. Enabling collaborative working. Everyone is clear on how they are expected to work together. The organisation’s structure encourages people to create and develop informal and formal networks to maximise collaboration.

What is in a best practice job description?

It’s crucial to create and review individual job roles, or job descriptions, for each employee. It’ll go a long way to providing the clarity your teams need to perform at their best. Things to think about when defining roles in your business include:

  • What you want. Writing down the skills, behaviours and knowledge you expect in each role provides clarity and also helps with managing performance and recruitment.
  • Behaviours. We tend to focus solely on skills and knowledge when analysing job roles but it is also worth considering the behaviours required of your employees. Does the role in question require your employee to be calm or competitive? Creative or dogmatic?
  • The detail. Writing an overview of the role you’re thinking about will provide more insight for the employee so they can understand what is expected of them. It’s also the place to document specifics like salary, chain of command and requirements of the role.
  • Think about how the job matrix or job description will be agreed, reviewed and updated by you and your employee, together. You can then use them in review meetings to inform how you manage performance, development and support.

Free templates

Download a template job description and PDF guide to recruit the right candidate and ensure your people are clear on what’s expected of them.

Download our guide to creating roles for each individual where everyone feels involved, motivated and trusted.

Download a template to score and understand your feedback style.