Role clarity is one of THE keys to successful teams. However, when this is not made a priority, role conflict occurs.

Role conflict happens when an employee takes on responsibilities more than what is defined. This situation can be quite stressful which is why every company should know how to deal with it.

High performing teams and anyone wanting a positive culture needs to be very clear on what each person’s role is. If you’re a People Leader, working in a team, or even have a role that interacts with someone else’s, then you need to ensure this is part of your DNA.

From the workplace to the home, every person plays their role and have their responsibilities. There are culturally defined roles in the home while in the workspace, roles are given by the employers.

What is role conflict in the workplace?

To have efficient workers in a company, employers should strive to find solutions to reduce work-related stressors. Nowadays, paychecks alone cannot motivate an employee.

Factors such as employer-employee relationships and work environment play a big role in maintaining the well-being of employees. 

One of the biggest causes of work-related stress is role conflict. Employees have initially assigned tasks. The conflict occurs when they are burdened with an incompatible or different role. 

Unlike in everyday life, employers determine the obligation of an employee. The latter already knows the expectations and work results that he should produce when entering the company. 

An employee feels incompetent and burdened when given a task that is different from what is laid out. This is the very simple reason that leads to burnout and stress. 

What are the causes of role conflict? 

Role conflict does not happen in an instant. It is usually a result of poorly defined job requirements or unrealistic expectations. 

Job ambiguity

Job ambiguity happens when workers have no clear set of responsibilities. This confusion leads to role conflict because the employee has his expectations of his duties from that of the employer.

As such, when they are faced with their actual job, they become stressed that it is not what they expected. 

Role strain

On the other hand, role strain occurs when an employee is aware of his responsibilities but these involve two extremely exclusive roles.

Employees find conflict when two jobs demand different things. This causes stress as to what to prioritize. Role strain is one of the most stressful situations to experience and it leads to faster burnout.

How do you deal with role conflict? 

As soon as you can foresee the possibility of a role conflict, it is important to immediately address it. Dragging it for too long can cause burn out and reduce your efficacy as an employee.

Role conflict usually occurs as soon as employees start working in teams and duties are not explicitly delegated. Several scenarios may occur:

  • Employee feels that the job assigned is not within his responsibility.
  • Employee feels incompetent for the task.
  • An employee feels that his working style conflicts the team

Transparency is very important in the workplace so when this occurs, employees should report directly to their supervisor so that the company can immediately provide an adequate remedy. 

How do you avoid role conflict?

Knowing how to deal with role conflict is equally crucial for employers as it is also their task to oversee the health and well-being of their workers. It is beneficial for the company to explicitly lay out the working conditions and expectations from the beginning.

By doing so, the employee can differentiate his perceived role and expected role. The following are some of the suggested methods in dealing with role conflict in the workplace:

  • Provide an organizational chart with all the job titles and their expected performance
  • Employees have adequate on-the-job training. This program shows not only their day to day task but also outcomes they should produce on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis
  • Provide an outlet through managers or supervisors where workers can clarify their responsibilities 
  • If there are incoming additional responsibilities, employers should give sufficient time for the employee to adjust

Defining roles in the workplace is paramount in ensuring job satisfaction. Every person wants to prepare for the job they are taking. For this reason, employers should also strive to achieve role clarity. 

Workers sufficiently informed of their tasks perform better than employees who do not have a clear understanding of their job requirements.  

Role Clarity is Key

Role Clarity is a key fundamental to your success as it reduces uncertainty, duplication and resourcing, and ultimately increases your efficiency.

To help with this, each person should be able to explain their roles and responsibilities. There’s no need for ambiguity or assumptions here.

Be Clear, Concise, and Communicate openly to unlock the benefits that Role Clarity has for you.

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