What’s my role? (and 7 clarifying questions)

In sports, success often comes to the teams that understand their roles, execute game plans, and work together seamlessly. As a pharmacist, I’ve noticed a common refrain echoing through the profession: “I don’t know my role.” In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of clearly defined roles within pharmacy teams, how it can impact overall effectiveness and what to think about when moving beyond a standard job description.

When a sports team is thriving, the captain attends the press conference and confidently says, “Our success is because everyone knew their role, understood their individual contribution, and the team plan.” When they aren’t performing well, the captain fronts up with the inverse statement, “We need to get more clear on our roles, get back to what we need to do individually and then come together as a team.”

The parallels between sports teams and pharmacy teams may seem surprising, but the importance of role clarity is universal. High-performing teams are made up of individuals who know their roles, contribute personally and work together seamlessly.

Too often, I hear the statement… ‘I don’t know my role.’ This is challenging for everyone. The pharmacy loses efficiency. Interpersonal relationships become strained because expectations (albeit unknown in some cases) aren’t met. People also become afraid to do things because they are unsure who should be doing what. Or, what they’re told their role is, is vastly different to what is portrayed through others’ actions.

If you’re the manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that people understand their roles and are supported to action them. If you’re not the manager, rather, it’s your responsibility to check-in and confirm your understanding. An emotional intelligence skill that is often overlooked is seeking feedback on our performance. You don’t need to wait for it to be given to ask for it.

7 Role-Related Questions to Ponder:

Before resorting to a generic job description, consider delving deeper into the specific roles of each pharmacy team member. Here are some thought-provoking questions to guide this process:

What tasks and overall functions am I/is the staff member responsible for?
  1. Provide specific, actionable details and prioritize tasks as needed.
What information have you communicated about these responsibilities?
  • Mere distribution of a job description isn’t enough. Take the time to explain responsibilities in a way that encourages action and understanding. If you are not the manager, what have you communicated to clarify your understanding?
What evidence is there that they understand their role?
  1. Look for tangible proof that team members grasp their responsibilities.
Where is there evidence of confusion?
  1. Look for signs of confusion. Do things that you perceive to be within their role regularly get missed? Do you get asked for input regularly on things you don’t believe require it? Remember, unaddressed ambiguity can hinder team performance.
How do your actions align with their roles?
  1. Sometimes, unintentionally our actions don’t correlate with what say. For example, if you ask someone to oversee or execute a task and then continue to interrupt and take over, your actions are speaking far louder than your words. Review where there is evidence of confusion, see how you or others may be unintentionally contributing to this through action and make a plan to rectify it.
What feedback is provided regarding performance in comparison to expectations and how often?
  1. Constructive feedback helps team members understand where they stand and how to improve. Performance reviews left for once per year do little to support role clarity. Rather, short, regular, specific feedback regarding what you want to see more of and what needs addressing is much more effective.
What opportunities are available to enhance understanding and performance?
  1. Telling people, ‘any questions, just ask’ is not enough of an invitation for some. Encourage conversations that provide opportunities to expand awareness, ask questions and talk about the ambiguous. When you start integrating them daily, through action, you show people how to start the conversation themselves.

The Power of Role Clarity

Knowing one’s role is more than a formality; it’s the foundation for autonomy, decision-making, and confidence. In a pharmacy setting, clarity in roles translates to a well-coordinated team that can navigate challenges, expand services and provide excellent patient care.

In the ever-evolving landscape of pharmacy, defining and reinforcing roles is instrumental to success. As leaders, managers must invest time in ensuring their teams understand their individual responsibilities, fostering an environment where everyone knows where they fit. By addressing these questions and actively promoting role clarity, pharmacies can unlock both the individual and collective potential of their team.

If you would like to equip your managers with the tools they need to create role clarity and positively influence their team through change and triumph, reach out for a complimentary connection call.

Upskill your leaders. Give them the tools to help them and your pharmacy thrive, innovate and grow.

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