We’ve all thought about trading places before in one way or another: being the pilot who’s steering your flight, the police officer writing your ticket, the doctor listening to your heart beat or the cashier ringing up your groceries at the grocery store… the list goes on and on. And if you ever got the opportunity to actually live on the other side, how do you think you would feel? Do you think about others and their responsibilities, challenges, worries and how you would treat them differently if you were in their shoes for just one day? You may find that you’ll be much more understanding simply by stopping to think about it for a moment.
One key to all successful relationships is to understand all sides. In the workplace, this also holds true. Everyone has different responsibilities and priorities and understanding where each person falls on the workplace spectrum will help you start to improve your relationships significantly! Maybe you find yourself annoyed with a co-worker or frustrated with your boss, but have you thought about their own responsibilities and worries? You may be worried about making a deadline on one piece of a project, but your boss may be stressed about the whole thing! Your boss may have another boss who has another boss to answer to – so they are probably just as stressed out as you are. It’s important to understand other roles for a number of reasons. When you understand others, you can see how different positions and responsibilities complement each other and how it all fits together. Simultaneously, you’ll be able to avoid overloading yourself, ambiguity on duties, doubling up on efforts or competing for responsibilities.
Why are roles so important? What happens if they aren’t clearly defined? Each role at work reflects a different angle and piece of the puzzle. A clear understanding of roles can help with your personal career development, team building, relationships with colleagues and just an overall better understanding of everything around you. Roles may change because of reorganization, mergers, leadership changes, technology or whatever else the case may be – but having clearly defined roles will lead to succinct and efficient teamwork. Teams work best when there is a balance of responsibilities and team members know their roles, understand each other’s roles, can work to their strengths and manage weaknesses.
You may want to ask yourself the following questions to gain a better understanding of your role and team dynamics:
What team role do you play?
What contribution do you make?
Does your team role fit your personality, etc.?
Also consider taking a few moments to observe others and how they behave. What roles do they play? Remember, too, that it’s not just about you! It’s about your relationships and how you relate to others, so you may want to consider “trading places” for a better understanding of those around you!
(image source: forbes.com)