The Job Description

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”

 - Lawrence J. Peter

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, recruiting must be your first step in improving the overall happiness and performance of you and your team. You can’t expect to improve your quality, productivity, planning or communication without having the best possible talent on your team and you can’t expect to find that talent without have a clear definition of the talents needed and overall responsibilities for each of your Teamers.

Simply stated, the Job Description is the “foundation” of all that you do with your team. Most people know what a Job Description is but few know what a Job Description can be. Most Middles see a Job Description as just as another piece of paperwork that you need to do to get a hiring approval from your Boss or the Human Resources group. Most employees see it as a waste of time, since it never really relates to what they really do, how they do it and how they can improve their performance.

Think of the Job Description as the following tools to address these critical needs:

  • It’s an agreement between you and each of your Teamers on what you want them to do, what responsibilities they will have, what qualifications they must have or develop and how they are to work with other Teamers and the overall Organization.
  • It’s a tool to help you measure each Teamer’s performance.
  • It provides information for your Salary Administration group to determine the appropriate salary for each position.
  • It provides information for your Human Resources group to use for advertisements and internet postings for hiring. Think of it this way, how can you possibly develop a job ad/posting and recruit a person for your team without knowing what you want that person to do?
  • It provides standard expectations to feed your reward, empowerment and performance review processes for your Teamers.

A good Job Description is the “vision” of the person that you want to work with and have as a member of your team.

I know that most Organizations have “guidelines” on what your Job Descriptions might be like but trust me, YOU are the best person (along with your Teamers) to write these Job Descriptions. It is not easy work but most necessary!

Lastly, perhaps you are thinking “I can’t write!” Yes you can. Everyone can write, just some better than others. Just focus on these simple rules. Write fast and edit slowly. Always ask your Teamers to review your copy and include their suggestions and changes.

A Job Description should contain at least the following items or topics:

  • Position - The actual title for the job.
  • Date - The date of the most recent change to the content of the Job Description.
  • Supervision Received - Who is their boss?
  • Supervision Exercised - Who do they manage or supervise?
  • Position Summary - A high-level description of what you want this person to do within your team. What are they supposed to do each day? Here are a few examples:
    • Acts as a single point-of-contact for clients using the services of…
    • Responsible for providing project status information to clients…
    • Responsible for monitoring the client satisfaction for projects…
    • Administrator of the project time management system…
  • Responsibilities - Provide a specific list of tasks that the person filling this position must do. Here are some examples:
    • Work closely and proactively with team, clients, consultants…
    • Expedites all “crisis” jobs...
    • Monitor the results of client satisfaction surveys…..
    • Develop and implement processes to improve productivity…
  • Qualifications - Provide a specific list of skills, talents, strengths, characteristics and educational needs. Here are some examples:
    • MBA preferred
    • Must work well under pressure
    • Must have great organizational skills
    • Must have excellent attention to detail and ability to meet target dates

Your Job Descriptions must include the Job Success Talents, which are the skills (these are learned) and strengths (these are innate) that a person needs to have to do a job well mentioned in an earlier blog, in the Responsibilities and Qualifications sections.

Ask your Teamers for help in writing and updating Job Descriptions on a regular basis, but you are the one to start the process by writing new or updating existing Job Descriptions and having them reviewed by your Teamers and include their suggested changes. They are the people actually doing this work. They know what it takes to do their job!!! Trust them and always work to include their changes and comments!

 “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boast the self-esteem of the personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

 - Sam Walton