How to shape roles to maximize output from each team member

Gears of teamwork at sea at dawn

© Tweeter Linder 2017 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.

Hiring new team members and building a team is a journey in three steps. First screening out the best candidates for a short list. Second selecting the best candidate for each job. Once you have appointed all in the team, the final step is to tune roles for immediate execution. A task where you as a leader aim to both maximize performance and personal growth for each team member. This post takes you through a three-legged approach for how to combine the two objectives.

Base qualifications fulfilled by your team members

The role description you have recruited towards set out the base criteria for your roles you need to fill. Often with a stretched ambition to secure it is hard for candidates to meet all requirements.  But you need to have a good match to secure performance from day one.

The base qualifications match the core value adding flow your team handles. Major flows require more than one team member. And minor flows can be handled with a single team member. Consistent performance requires alignment of role descriptions when several team members serve major flows.

When crafting the final individual role-descriptions you are likely dealing with two parts. One where team members have a great match with the role and one representing a development potential.

Unique assets each team member bring beyond basics

The second area to explore is what strengths team members bring beyond what you have been looking for. Each team member possesses skills from previous experience you can put in play as long as you know what they are.

The areas you are keen on understanding are fields where your team members have their passions. And finding where passions in your team can take on responsibilities otherwise left unattended. Or remaining on your shoulders as a leader.

If this area has a good fit with the epi-center of the role, congratulations. You have great odds to see a star performer in your team. If this is a smaller part of the role you can expect great results at reasonable efforts. And as a team performing better by using the whole breadth of capabilities you have in your team.

Opportunities to grow from with training and on the job experiences

Role descriptions for future looking roles will by dynamic. And changing with the changing needs from the business. As a leader you need to enable your team to grow daily to stay relevant in the market place. Where the personal commitment to learning and embracing on-the-job training opportunities is vital.

The first aspect is to lead team members to grow into mastering the full breadth of the role. With an understanding a role get more exciting when you grow into addressing the full scope of the role. As well as the potential to grow from good to great in the role. A growing team both deliver today and are ready for tomorrow’s challenges.

The growing business complexity requires a shift in competence profiles. Moving from deep experts in a specific field. To a scenario where team members need both breadth and depth. Aspire to lead the development of your team members from starting point as I-shaped experts. Towards a new target with T-, π- and #-shaped competence profiles. A task facilitated by leveraging the diversity in your team. Where cross-pollination between peers in your team is an essential part of the development path.

The third major area of growth is customer understanding. An area growing in importance in sales and marketing professions. What was state of the art in customer understanding is soon far too little. The demand is surging daily in this area.  And leaders need to guide their team towards the next levels of customer understanding.

By combining the three elements you have the potential to shape clear roles to maximize short term performance. Together with an agenda for steep growth of your human capital to secure your long term performance.

Great questions to ask yourself as a leader

  1. How have we articulated existing and new roles today – be honest on how role description match actual execution efforts.
  2. How do we need to tune job description from hiring to implementation – leverage learning from hiring process to sharpen roles.
  3. How do each member fit the role description for his/her role – divide between full match and development potential.
  4. Which area need to be part of the personal development plan for each team member – plan for quarterly growth.
  5. Which unique team member capabilities can be leveraged to expand the role beyond basics – all team members have latent values to unlock.
  6. Who in the team is the best mentor for peers in critical team development areas – leverage expertize in team to spill over to peers.
  7. How often do you plan to review role descriptions – plan for review/tuning every 6 months to evolve with

Additional reading suggestions

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