In the Office: What’s Your Role?

No matter what job you have, you are responsible for specific tasks and perform a particular role. Your role and responsibilities can be very well defined in many cases, especially if you’re in a larger company. However, if you have a job for a typical small business, your role and responsibilities can change from day-to-day. Regardless of your specified job duties, you are a part of a “team” who’s success is tied to your ability to understand, accept and thrive in your role. From the moment that you start working for any company, you have a role to play. It may or may not be explicitly defined, but your role will play a key part in your success.

A company’s success depends largely on their employee’s understanding and agreement on their individual responsibilities, but it depends even more so on the employee’s willingness to understand their role which is completely different and separate from their responsibilities. Your role may not be what is written as part of your job description or responsibility. You may have been hired to do a specific job and perform certain duties, but your role might include mentoring or leading or training or encouraging others or being the brand’s champion. Your role might be acting as the conduit between two factions within the company or as the mediator between your boss and another co-worker or you could be the calm in the midst of the storm. Your personality can bring additional responsibilities as they relate to your role. This isn’t technically your job or a part of a job description, but this is a role that is taken on because of the needs within the company. This role within the team plays a significant part in the success of your company whether that role is more functional or inspirational or “big” or “small.”

To make a sports analogy, the thing that I like to remember is that the person who never plays in a game on a sports team still gets a ring if the team wins a championship. Each player has played a role in the team’s success even if that specific person never makes a play in an actual game. They actually in some cases could in many ways be the MVP without ever getting on the court. Their ability to play their role is a pivotal element that goes unnoticed by many outsiders. When Dennis Rodman was in his heyday, there were a few players who were added to rosters of teams that wanted Rodman not because they were great contributors on the court, but because they could play a role in helping to keep him functioning both on and off the court. You may not have a role that is quite that extreme, but you can still make a significant contribution if you’re able to embrace and understand your role. Once you understand your role, you will find that personal success can be directly tied to your role as much as being able to “do your job.”

Many people think that if they are not promoted by a certain time or if some specific career advancement doesn’t take place or at least acknowledgment does not occur then they are not appreciated or they are not really valued within their company. However, a good role player understands that there are definitely times to stand up and command respect and another time to accept their role. When the focus is simply on our own personal gain, we tend to forget how to use our role to achieve success. The measurement of success is as much based on our ability to accept our role and perform our responsibilities as it is on your attainment of specific personal goals. Being a team player includes learning how to be humble and accept your role. In some cases, as the old cliche goes, easier said than done.

Playing your role is not a limitation to your success. In fact, playing your role can allow you an opportunity to see things from a different perspective than you had envisioned. Your role can evolve over time as well. It can lead to a position of authority or simply an “inside” level of respect and confidentiality that doesn’t even coincide with a position or title. Your role can command greater respect than your title.

Often we approach our jobs as if we simply go to work, do our job and work efficiently, what more can anyone ask? The difference is when you have a “role” within a company, you are more invaluable as an employee than if you simply came, did your job and went home. Having a role means that you set the tone, you participate on a level that only you can and that you somehow enhance the experience for everyone around you. This is how you create an aura of respect greater than just doing a job. Learn to thrive in your role and you will surely be remembered for far more than just doing a job.

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Go With the Flow: Is This the World’s Most Achingly Cool Festival?

VideoFrom obscure emerging bands you’ve never heard of, to some of the world’s biggest recording stars; from Michelin-quality food trucks to DJs, art installations, esoteric discussions and cocktails, to new technology and an environmental awareness that would make Greenpeace blush, Finland’s Flow Festival can certainly stake a claim to be […]

Amazon’s New Secret ‘Flex’ Service Spotted In Seattle

Amazon’s new Kirkland, Washington location seems to be set to launch the company’s new “Amazon Flex” service, GeekWire reports.

Amazon has not yet officially announced its new “Flex” service, but a sign at the location gives a hint as to what it may be. It reads, “Please take a ticket located behind you. Please look for your number on the top corner of the wall on your left. Proceed to pick up your package once your number is displayed.” This suggests that it may be a service that allows customers to pick up their packages at the facility.

The company also has yet to announce the launch of its Prime Now one-hour delivery service in the Seattle area, but it has been fairly clear that’s what the facility will being used for since GeekWire discovered documents in May that had the site labeled by architects as “Prime Now.”

Liquor license applications filed for the three Seattle area Prime Now locations suggest that they will be the first in the U.S. to offer a one-hour alcohol delivery service.

Ex-security officer charged with cooking meth at U.S. government lab

BALTIMORE (Reuters) – A former security officer at a federal laboratory in Maryland was charged on Tuesday with trying to make methamphetamine there, and his lawyer said he was expected to plead guilty.

Pennsylvania Congressman pleads not guilty to corruption charges

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Congressman Chaka Fattah pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to federal corruption charges related to the financing of his failed campaign in 2007 for mayor of Philadelphia.

Google launches Wi-Fi router for home use

(Reuters) – Google Inc launched a Wi-Fi router on Tuesday, the latest move in the company’s efforts to get ready for the connected home and draw more users to its services.

UPDATE 1-Brazil’s OAS receives offers for Invepar stake, units

SAO PAULO, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Brazil’s OAS Investimentos SA, whose parent company is under creditor protection, has so far received five proposals for a stake in infrastructure company Invepar, with…

Leadership Is Freakin’ Hard

Congratulations! You’ve become a leader! At last, your ideas will be listened to, valued and heeded. People will finally take you seriously. Now your impact, influence, and income will grow.

Ah, the life of leader. Issuing orders. Imparting wisdom. Developing underlings. Effecting results. Reaping rewards. After all those years slogging it out in the trenches, you finally get to be in charge…where you belong.

But before you put on your leader cape and start saving people from their own destruction, there’s something you need to know. Something that most leadership books gloss over or avoid altogether. Something that will shift your perspective, temper your idealism, and keep your leadership centered. Leadership is freakin’ hard.

So What’s the Problem?
Leadership that’s hard is leadership that’s unattractive. One global study of 2,422 millennials showed that less than 20% of them desire to be a leader at a large organization. Why? Because they view the traditional role of a leader as one that places too much emphasis on profits and production, and not enough on developing people or contributing to societal good. To them, launching their own venture is vastly more attractive than working in a large organization, with 70% viewing entrepreneurship as the preferred career path. The thought of leading in a large organization, from their perspective, is as sane as living in a Dilbert cartoon.

People need to believe in leadership again. Attracting and inspiring future generations of leaders will require a more grounded, realistic, and authentic view of leadership. Budding leaders don’t need any more advice from celebrity leaders, politicians, or sports heroes. They don’t need a toolkit for breaking into the corner office. They don’t need any more cotton candy leadership platitudes. They don’t need more tips for moving from good to great. The starting point for new leaders isn’t “good”, its “Holy crap! What have I gotten into?!”

What’s So Hard about Leading?
Good leaders nearly always start out as bad leaders. They become more effective by first becoming less ineffective. Doing that requires a careful understanding of what makes leadership so freak’n hard.

  • Adults Are Big Babies: You lead people, and people are fickle, quirky, and often petty. Adults are just grown up kids wearing bigger clothes and sporting larger and more fragile egos. Yes, they can also be smart, passionate, and upstanding. But on any given day, in any given work situation, it is hard to predict which people are going to act like adults and which are going to act like whiney, sniveling, irritable babies. Some people will respond to your feedback receptively, others will stew with resentment. Many days you’ll be the biggest baby in the room. Usually when you think everyone around you are acting like babies.
  • Demands Are Relentless, Unforgiving Bastards: You’re only deemed successful as a leader if you get results. The drive to produce results is incessant. No matter how well you do this quarter, or with this project, or with this customer, you’ll be expected to do more and better next time. Your reputation is always on the line. You’ll go through a lot of antacids.
  • Making People Uncomfortable is Your Job: People are comfort-seeking creatures. But because people grow, progress, and evolve in a zone of discomfort, the harsh reality is, your job as a leader is to make people uncomfortable. But guess what? People get mighty upset when you make them uncomfortable.
  • The Cavalry Isn’t Coming: You’ll often feel under siege by the challenges you’re facing. Regardless, you’ll be expected to bring them to resolution – without the aid of a handbook. With no cavalry to rescue you, you’re forced to grope your way through, often making things up as you go along. Often you’ll feel like a fake on the inside while portraying confidence on the outside.
  • The Biggest Problem is Mostly You: Leaders often get in their own way by being overly judgmental, holding people to unrealistic standards, and caring more for results than people. When results suffer, leaders often resort to intensifying these kinds of behaviors, negatively impacting performance, loyalty, and morale.

Leadership is Crazy Good!

So why put yourself through all the hardship and criticism? The answer is found in the most satisfying result of a leader’s impact: more leadership.

In my work as an author and leadership consultant, I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of leaders throughout the world. One question I often ask leaders is this: At the end of your leadership career, what will have made the challenge of leadership all worthwhile? By far the most frequent answer goes something like this: “I will have built other leaders who themselves are building other leaders.”

When you are privileged to be lead others, your influence can impact the trajectories of people’s entire careers, potentially helping them become more courageous, just and humane. When done right, the best of you may bring out the best in others. In the process, they may become inspired to lead too. The pain associated with enduring the hardships of leading others is offset by the satisfaction of making a positive difference for the people and organization you serve.

Starting with a presumption that leadership is hard helps to mitigate over-confidence, inspire earnest preparation, and activate a deeper and more authentic commitment to lead. Ultimately, by soberly and thoughtfully assessing how freakin’ hard leadership is, you’ll stop freaking out about having to lead.

Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting. In 2014 his newest book, Leaders Open Doors, became the top-selling leadership training book on Amazon. Bill is also the author of Courage Goes to Work, an international bestselling book that introduces the concept of courage-building. Bill’s clients include NASA, CDC, UBS Bank, Spanx, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more at

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