By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
It has been around for ages; lurking in almost every workplace, sabotaging growth and potential, creating conflict and resentment among co-workers and employers. It is the “it’s not my job” mentality.
An assumption can always be made that others have that mentality because they are lazy; perhaps there are other reasons. People can often show an unwillingness or inflexibility due to being already overwhelmed with current duties, not understanding what is needed or how to take on a certain new responsibility.
We have mentioned the importance of job descriptions before, and while it may be true that occasionally employees may cling to job descriptions to avoid taking on new responsibilities, they are a powerful tool in determining if workloads are shared effectively and evenly. Another benefit in reviewing job descriptions is determining if each person’s duties are well-matched with their strengths and abilities. Perhaps a minor adjustment and exchange of duties can increase productivity and job satisfaction in your practice.
A major tool to assist in breaking down the “it’s not my job” barrier is to take the time and initiative to develop a team building “we are all in this together” attitude. Cultivating an environment with open, positive communication focused on understanding each other is crucial. Team members need to feel safe to ask questions when they don’t understand or when they are feeling overloaded.
Fear of failure can also be a major factor in the “it’s not my job” response.
Another solution is to acknowledge, either verbally or with rewards, the team members who do go the extra mile to help out. Appreciation and recognition is always an excellent motivator. Pretty soon “it’s not my job” will become “I’ll do it!”