During Managers BootCamp IAS consultants walk managers through creating their own job description and then requiring the same of their staff. We recommend that a job description should include specific and measurable tasks that an employee is responsible to accomplish. I am actually surprised at the number of top level leaders that do not have a job description. What this often translates into is the feeling that they are required to do a little bit of everything and none of it is done as well as they would like.
A Vice President of a longstanding nonprofit recently told me that he has been in his position for 15 years with no job description! While participating in Managers BootCamp he began to create his job description by writing down all of the tasks he is actually responsible for. Many would think that this activity would feel stifling but he said that he felt it increase his creativity in how he might accomplish the tasks he is responsible for. He was able to think just a bit more outside of the box while making things measurable and actually identifying what results he was interested in producing.
Another executive described her frustration with putting her job description onto paper because it verified that there is not enough time in her week to accomplish all that she is held responsible for. This process forces her to prioritize her tasks and communicate with the higher ups what is realistic and what isn’t. Unfortunately she has been holding down the fort feeling this pressure for 5 years creating a vicious cycle for her to feel the increasing pain of imminent burnout.
It amazes me what profound discoveries can be found just from updating or creating a job description. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what an accurate, detailed, and measureable job description can bring to an organization.