Distinguishing between Tasks and Responsibilities

Make sure people understand the difference between the responsibilities of their jobs and the tasks that must be performed in order to fulfill those responsibilities.

If a person receives a laundry list of tasks instead of a list of major responsibilities, he will have difficulty understanding how the job contributes to the accomplishment of the department and company goals. He may also restrict his activities to the list of tasks instead of the overall job to be accomplished.

A comprehensive list of responsibilities, as opposed to a detailed list of tasks, provides the person with a larger view of the job. It also gives people more freedom in deciding how to  go about fulfilling the responsibilities of the job and meeting the established goals and objectives.

This is not to say that the manager shouldn’t delegate tasks to the people who work for him. In some cases the manager should be quite specific as to what tasks should be performed in fulfilling the responsibilities. As a general rule, the more authority a person has and the greater the responsibility, the more freedom he should have in determining the tasks he will perform.

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