Last week I wrote about how assumptions can lead to unmet expectations and disappointments.  But can you counter assumptions?

Job titles, whether in professional or volunteer work, can be misleading.  For instance, when I worked for the Minnesota AIDS Project, I was the Community Affairs Manager.

Would you assume from the title that I helped shape public policy and was the staff lobbyist?  Most people wouldn’t.

In my volunteer work, I have the title of Marketing/Publicity for the MN chapter of the International Coaches Federation.  I’ve been working with others on the development of an award to recognize coaching excellence within Minnesota organizations (corporations or non-profits).

My committee partner assumed that publicity/marketing meant I would be doing the internal messaging, and I assumed I would be doing external messaging.  We never discussed what our titles meant.

What can you do to avoid assumptions about workloads in teams?

Obviously it helps to discuss what roles people are taking on, and what the titles really means in terms of duties.

But it also helps to discuss and formulate a team vision.

Questions to pose include:

  • How does our work support the larger organization’s mission?
  • How will our individual contributions create personal and professional meaning?
  • How will our work create a better future?
  • How can we leverage/involve other organizational resources (personnel, volunteers, existing expertise) within the organization to achieve our goals?
  • If relevant, how can we reach outside the organization to expand our influence?

Asking these questions doesn’t guarantee no problems, but it does create a context/framework to negotiate any difficulties that arise.
May you pursue your individual and team visions with passion, purpose, power and peace!

Best wishes,

Elizabeth