Clarifying the nature of the role can be helped by your own role models or heroes. How do they act out their roles? How do they change hats to suit the occasion? Look for the qualities you desire and see how those attributes fit for you.
Role perceptions are formed from our own experience and beliefs, but also from cues, symbols, signs and rituals. The problem is that stereotyping can follow. For example, a uniform can lead many people to jump to conclusions about the nature of a person because of their role.
The average person plays many roles in life. This is your role set. You may be a dad, a son, a neighbour, a manager (which could be subdivided into other roles such as accountant, coach, provocateur, safe-hands, challenger, innovator). Bringing clarity and focus to your own role helps meet the expectations of those in your role set.
You Are the Focal Person in Your Role Set
A role, therefore, is built around a set of expectation patterns for a person in a given position within an organisation, family or social unit. As the ‘focal person’ you are surrounded by people who have role expectations about how you should act and behave which may be in conflict with how you identify with the role.
Your role identity, for example, may change depending on differing situations being presented to you. Your role as a new member on a team may need to be different to your role as manager or your role as a parent.
The focal person is often faced with the following challenges:
Lack of clarity around what is to be done. Unclear expectations is one of the biggest reasons for underperformance in the workplace
When you are expected to perform two tasks that are unsuited or poles apart, you have an incompatibility problem, e.g. downsizing and motivation
The classic conflict is home and work, e.g. travelling a lot as a manager and being a parent. A conflict of interest is often declared when a professional is being potentially put on both sides of a transaction
Expected to wear too many hats leads to conflict, stress and under-performance
The person is under employed and capable of much more but is blocked or frustrated
Have you encountered issues with clarifying roles and conflicting roles in your business and life?
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