Leadership is Calling Episode #43
Heather McGonigal
Executive Coach, Leading Edge Teams

The People Part Book Chapter 3: Understanding Role Clarity for Better Teamwork

 “Role clarity provides the organized structure that enables teamwork. Without it, things can get really fuzzy and we bump up against each other.” – Coach Heather

Feeling like your team is bumping heads and projects are falling through the cracks? Chapter 3 of The People Part holds the key: Role Clarity!

Coach Heather dives deep into why clear roles are crucial for teamwork efficiency and how to implement them using:

  • Functional Org Charts: Map your team’s responsibilities for crystal-clear workflows.
  • Role Agreements: Eliminate confusion and empower ownership with transparent expectations.

– Reduced teamwork friction
– Boosted productivity and morale
– A happier, more empowered team

– Learn how to identify unclear roles in your organization.
– Discover practical tips for implementing role clarity with your team.

Order a copy of “The People Part”: https://leadingedgeteams.com/thepeoplepartbook

Key Points
  • Role clarity provides the structure for efficient teamwork
  • Unclear roles lead to team members duplicating or overstepping
  • Clarifying roles helps teams avoid fuzzy boundaries
  • Functional org charts map roles to enable clarity
Related Resources

Leadership Skills: The Business Part  | The People Part
Leadership Development Articles: High Performance Teams Need Role Clarity  |  Four Principles that Bring your Org Chart to Life!
Book: The People Part by Annie Hyman Pratt

High Performance Teams need Role Clarity - Cartoon fitting people into shapes - Leading Edge Teams

Auto-Generated Transcript – unedited version

The People Part Book Chapter 3: Understanding Role Clarity for Better Teamwork


Hey, everyone. Coach Heather here and I’m back talking about The People Part book. And I have a question for you. Have you ever had something come to your department or your desk to do and thought, “Is this really mine to do?” This happens. And why this happens is because as an organization grows and shifts, it can actually be something that happens because of positive things, because of business expansion and change.

But what can happen is that our org structure needs to change. So in this book we talk about the importance of role clarity and agreement. Number three, which is also chapter three, is about role clarity. And it says we clarify our parts and where they fit in the four. So where they fit in the whole of the business picture. And that role clarity is the organized structure that enables teamwork.

So without role clarity, things can get really fuzzy and we bump up against each other quite a bit. So if you’re in your day today, teamwork, and you have the experience of, “Wait, why is this coming to me or to us or hey, we that was that’s our to do. What is this person or these people? What are they doing over here in our area?” There is most likely no ill intent there, but it is a symptom of us needing to re clarify our roles and how we function.

So what I want you to know is that your org structure we recommend a functional org chart, one that shows the functions needed in your business first and foremost, and then we put names in those functions. And so there’s more about that in the chapter. But when we have an org chart that shows how we function and then has the names of the people holding that the main responsibility of that area, this becomes a great map for your team members because now they can be sure to know who do you go to for what? Who do you go to for what? And often when we bump up against each other in teamwork everyday, it’s because things have changed and now things are a little fuzzy and we’re not sure.

I had a coaching scenario that kind of inspired this video, which is that I had a leader of a department in a larger organization in, and she was thinking about the resources, resourcing her team and needing more time, more time back for her team to take on some of the big new projects. And she noticed one day, “Hey, these kinds of requests keep they come to my department and we do them, but actually it doesn’t make sense anymore for us to do them because the the organization has changed and the people who have that thinking and those responsibilities, they’re actually mostly in this department over here now.”

So because this leader knew about the tool of agreements once she spoke that out loud, we recognized together, we need to re clarify the roles. And you have to surface this and ask, “Hey, I’m thinking my department really shouldn’t handle these types of requests anymore because now that thinking is over, there, now this,” she could have gone on ignoring this and having her team stretched thin, still trying to meet this need. But because she clarified the roles in the agreement, because she surfaced that conversation, it was actually very easily solved in this instance of, “You’re right. Yes. Let’s now delegate those types of things over here.” And then she had more time to give her team other things to do that were now being asked. Right. Because as a business, you’re always evolving. You have to respond to your customers’ needs and the external environment.

So I’ll give you one more quick example about org structure, role, clarity and why it matters. I had a team member who was great at a lot of things and in the organization since the beginning, so they had a lot of thinking that was really valuable to share with people and what this meant was they were kind of everywhere doing all the things and this became unsustainable and this person had great expertise in in a certain area, and we actually needed them to focus fully on that because it was now that one thing that one area had now become a real full time position more than full time. It really needed all of this team members’ time and attention. Can you see it?

And you know, the CEO really appreciated this team member’s contribution. But one day in a team meeting it came up and the CEO was like “You know I don’t even know what exactly it is you do.” And this could have been alarming, but actually it was taken as a positive, a good clue in to like, let’s look at your role because what was going on was I see you, I appreciate you. You do so much. But when they knew that this was a symptom of maybe her role being unclear and things having changed and they knew to look at the functional org chart, this allowed them to actually put up the functional org chart in the areas of the business. And then this team member put their name in all the spots where they held a high level of responsibility and they could see a map that showed them why this person was stretched thin and why it was unclear what exactly is it that they do.

And they were able to look at it together and say, “Even though you can do all these things, your expertise is this. And we now need you there like 95% of the time.” And once they had that alignment and the orgs org chart could be updated to reflect that and then communicated with the team. Now we have a lot more clarity and efficiency and the team member who was doing too much also now has the permission to go like and develop other people further and get herself out of those extra parts that she just can’t carry anymore.

So if you find yourself in that kind of situation with an overfull plate and wondering where you can get some time and energy back for yourself or your team, you might want to take a look at role clarity and your org chart. Okay, So hopefully that was just enough and not too much for today. And I will see you in the next video.

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