Setting clear roles and responsibilities for team members

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Derek Stockley provides training and performance management consulting services. Derek Stockley conducts one day leadership courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth or London.

This free article explores the importance of clear roles and responsibilities for team members. Role clarity has a big impact on organisational success. Uncertainty can dramatically affect both individual and organisation performance.

In recent times, I have had a variety of discussions with team leaders. Discussion has focussed on having a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities required for their positions. The personal experiences shared showed the frustration and anxiety that results if requirements are unclear.

These discussions have again reinforced my belief in the importance of all staff knowing what is expected of them.

People need to know their boundaries. They need to know what outputs are expected. They need to have permission to do the key elements of their jobs.

When I work with clients having performance issues, the need for role clarification is often identified as a significant action item.

Over time, the work and duties of team members can change. It can be due to workload pressures, the introduction of new team members or a range of related events. What ever the cause, efforts must be made to clarify the required changes in duties and responsibilities.

Being unsure of your role and what is expected of you affects your performance. Once clarified, personal productivity increases dramatically.

Organisations that have high employee engagement* have employees that know, understand and execute their roles and responsibilities. Role clarification is a significant organisation success factor. It is one of the management essentials that makes a big difference to organisational performance.


Ensuring that all staff have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities is a business essential.

Personal reflection

Do I have a clear understanding of what is expected of me? Do I know my boundaries?

Do the people around me understand my role? Do they understand the relationship between my role and theirs?

Does each member of my team clearly understand their roles and responsibilities?

Action items

Do I need to revise my position description/profile?

Do I need to have a role clarification discussion with my boss?

Do I need to have a role clarification discussion with some or all team members?

Should this issue be discussed at our next team meeting?

Related information

Employee engagement and organisational pride - employee engagement and organisational pride are discussed. Employee engagement is also defined.

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Derek Stockley conducts public training courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, including a Public Train the Trainer Program.

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