Special Guest Blogger – Ane Fernandez-Monge

Frequently, project managers spend a lot of time explaining to the team why the project is important, the ultimate objectives and outcomes that need to be achieved and not enough time explaining the role that each member on the team plays when working towards these ultimate objectives.

What exactly do we mean by ‘Role Clarity’?

I personally believe that role clarity is not only about you being clear on what your role and responsibilities are but also gaining clarity on the roles  of the people working with you (inside and outside your company).  This is important in ensuring everyone in the team knows who ‘the go to´ person is depending on what they need.

Role clarity involves being clear on each team member’s objectives, key accountabilities and the scope of responsibilities of their job. A good project manager will communicate these to team members and will provide them with the necessary support for them to be able to successfully do their job. This support includes sharing key information with the team, having frequent meetings and regular updates and making sure team members ask and clarify any questions they have in relation to the project. It also means encouraging team members to support one another.

What is NOT Role Clarity?

Sometimes we misunderstand this concept and think that role clarity is about communicating to team members not only what to do but also giving detailed instructions and explaining step by step how to approach the task. In my opinion, this micromanagement doesn’t lead to professional development but just the opposite. During my career to date, I have learnt that the best way to develop someone is to leave the exact approach to the discretion of individuals and to give team members the right tools and mechanisms so there is space for the person to decide how to do something  whilst adding their own flavour and creativity.

Promoting collaboration and empowerment

If a team perceives they have freedom to decide how to approach a task, its members are more likely to spend more time and energy working together and collaborating. Therefore, appropriate role clarity accompanied with open communication lines across the team leads to higher collaboration, empowerment and stronger team relationships based on clear expectations and shared responsibility.

What can I do?

If you are involved in a project where the project manager has not been clear on the roles and responsibilities of the team members, what can you do about it? You have two options: Experience the frustration that comes with not being clear on what you and your colleagues need to do or ACT, be proactive and spend some time with your project manager and other team members clarifying who is doing what. Once again, don´t assume that your project manager has all the answers and work as a team establishing and discussing team member’s roles and responsibilities.

In BRS, we use some great tools that assist us and our clients establishing this role clarity. Check them out!