What, Exactly, Do You Do?

What if someone were to randomly come up to you and ask you what you do at your job?  Would you be able to answer them without having to really think about it, in a clear and concise way?  Or would it take you aback, and would you have to think about it for a minute or two before you stammered out a vague response?  I’m not asking these questions to make you feel bad, because chances are, there are lots and lots of people in that second category.  What I do want to talk about here, though, is why that is, and why I think it’s the sign of a bigger problem with many of today’s businesses.

First of all, I would argue that the inability to answer the question of what you do is most likely not your fault (unless, of course, you are the owner of the business–more on that later).  I think it is actually a management issue.  So many managers give their employees vague descriptions of their job responsibilities, and unclear instructions on a day to day basis.  And after a while, these employees just kind of do whatever they are asked to do without really understanding why, and what their role is in the company as a whole.

The problem is, if an employee does not see the importance of their individual role, then they will most likely not be working up to their full potential.  A company full of employees who don’t understand what their jobs are is simply not going to be as successful in the long term as one where the employees have that understanding.  Deep down, we all want to feel valued and important, like we play an integral part in the success or failure of the company we work for.  If we think that our job is that important, then chances are we will do it to the best of our ability because we hold a stake in it

At the end of the day, one of the most important managerial skills is to make sure that all employees know what their job is and why it is important to the overall prosperity of the company they work for.  Without a clear sense of purpose, people simply do not see the point of giving their absolute best at their jobs.  On the other side of the coin, if someone really understands what it is they do and why they do it (a.k.a. why it is a valuable and important job), then they are going to give 100%.