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People are inherently inspired to find purpose and meaning in the work they do! They perform their best when there is clarity in their role/s in what they are doing to achieve outcomes for the organization and clarity in  how their performance will be evaluated.  There needs to be a shared  understanding of the employee’s  boundaries that are  set in their role/s and their performance measurement amongst their supervisors and managers. 

 Also, as employees seek purpose, their role or roles are  deeply connected to how  clearly they can engage themselves socially within the work environment to achieve organization’s goals and outcomes  and align themselves to establish productive work. Finding purpose in the work with clarity ,the team’s shared understanding of the roles and positive social interactions within the work environment  that positions them to be  productive, satisfied in the work , and a clear sense of direction- hence a lightbulb moment! 

 Clarity in the employee role 

The beginning of the employment phase is  the ideal time to start with clarity in the role of the employee; however, anytime when  roles within the workplace evolve, role clarity becomes even more important to be expressed and detailed to the one who is going to perform that role.  An employee’s best work will shine when they are clear on what they set out to do to achieve i.e. the work or their goal in the organisation.  It  requires essential clarity on what are the steps on the work or task to be performed will they work by themselves or  within the team to achieve this.   The direction is to be clear, the employee’s role outlined and the task assigned is clearly established for them. Once the clarity in the role is present,  the employee brings a sense of challenge for themselves and a potential creativity in their work and performance.

 It is the role of the employer to bring clarity in how work expectations and boundaries will be met within the role of  the employee.  Clarity in the role can also be on, role performance, assigned tasks , and or  clarity of team roles. Effective role description when given to an enthusiastic employee is the foundation for success in building capacity for the employee. Role clarity influences role performance. When employers bring role clarity for employees, they create value for their consumers  in their employees bringing their employees’ performance to new and creative heights!

A common cause of poor capacity to perform or employee’s poor quality of work performance lies in the poor definition of  the content of the role the employee is to perform. At other times,  the poor performance can be due to  overlapping boundaries of other roles , confusion amongst authority in reporting  causing conflict in employee’s  performance and reporting.    

Thus, the essential ingredient to bring purpose and clarity together  for an employee to thrive  in productiveness  is setting clear tasks and boundaries. Provide clear context, provide appropriate resources to deliver the desired outcome, establish a timeline and develop a transparent reporting line.  Employees will  interact with the said parameters that will help fulfil the capability of the work they do, develop their creativity and performance, produce quality of work that the consumers will best benefit from and establish rapport with their teams!

Team Role Clarity 

Team role clarity  is just as foundational as individual role clarity. Each team member needs to be clear of their accountability and role within  the team and be objective to share the load and continue with team spirit. Another important factor in team role clarity is the  purpose of each  team member’s position  within the team. Understanding of this by each team player of the position of another member in the team will improve their transparency and  accountability as a team member. 

When role accountability within the team is blurred, others in the team will end up carrying the workload, causing perceptions of unfairness and disharmony in the work environment and the workplace culture. Clarity in the understanding of each other’s role that is well defined and well understood within the team and their own role will pronounce what to prioritise and what to focus on without doing the same tasks as others in the team causing confusion,  stress, and  wastage of resources. Team role ambiguity is also one of the most hindering influences for team effectiveness. Great teams know their role, their team members’ roles and have a sense of ‘they know what they are doing individually and collectively’, thus improving collaboration and keeping momentum   in the team.  Change in tasks and decisions in the team can be recurring so consistently clarifying the roles is also  important and necessary for the team to keep moving forwards.  This certainly sets a tone in the right direction of progress and positivity as well as  in appreciation amongst team members of each other’s flexibility, creativity and compliance to learn on the go. Who is to take on the responsibility of clarity of team members’ roles ? One cannot define a team role with a job description or a duties list.  Managers are responsible to explain the role of each team member to the others in the team and the goal of the team as a whole with clear expectations set from the outset.

Understanding with clarity  the role of the manager 

Often managers themselves  have conflicting views of their own role and the way they lead their team of employees, what they do know and what they should know in this ever changing aged care world we now live in. With the aged care  standards setting the bar and positively moving  towards better care with quality and consumer choice , managers will ever so more need to clarify their roles with their team of employees.  Employees must understand managers are to set the tone and direction , enabling the team members to move together in the right direction of compliance, competence and continuous improvement. 

Managers need to be clear in building capacity and set accountabilities  in  their team to get the results that they set out to achieve.  Managers need to be clear in direction as to where the team is heading, the functioning and reactions of the employees , and how the employees performance is being measured. Every employee needs a manager they can look up to, to provide guidance with clarity and a sense of direction.  Does the  manager give a clear understanding of the tasks to the employee , the processes associated with the task/s and the responsibility of reporting after completion of the task?  Blurred boundaries and accountability will result in gaps in role performance and incomplete  care delivery.

Employees want to do the best in their job and most times their work becomes ambiguous and is directly at odds with the set conditions for productivity in their work. This can result in poor performance, stressful work environments, politics play and poor and stubborn behaviour amongst employees.  It will certainly undermine the organisation’s effectiveness in displaying its values effectively.

How do managers get clarity to get productive teams?  Managers can provide a great social work environment and set the tone for the culture of the workplace that allows employees to work together, aligned with the organisation’s values and mission,  being  creative and effective  in their own roles, and at the same time developing their employees’ full potential and honing their skills.   It is part of  the manager’s functions  to set the tone and be univocal  for the workplace as well as the work environment  that harmonises purpose and clarity together to bring positive productivity and enable employees to bring about their best work. 


Clearly, when the employee  has a sense of  purpose and clarity working together in the workplace, it  propels them forward to enthuse and sets a  challenge  to be the best they can be to  benefit the consumers. 

Clarity in what each employee sets out to achieve will be consistently evolving  and the more you can create clarity the more the  employee and the  teams will flourish with the sense of accomplishment and purpose keeping that momentum of energy and thrust – now and again and yet again  – a lightbulb moment!

Veronica John

Aged Services and Interim Specialist

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