Invisible labor, or "office housework," is often taken on by women. Learn about ways to ensure the grunt work and stretch opportunities are shared. Enabling your team to tackle significant tasks and challenges not only increases employee engagement, it also increases feelings of belonging. Learn about three strategies to empower employees.
- How you delegate work assignments within your team, significantly impacts the promotion trajectory of those you supervise. Being an inclusive team manager means you assign tasks in a way that doesn't favor or exclude anyone on the team. The overwhelming majority of learning at work happens when you're working on projects or tasks that stretch us beyond our current skill set. This is why employees need regular learning experiences that push them to grow, and why it's critical to delegate work equitably.
The work each person on your team does falls into one of three buckets; in the middle is the bulk of your teams work, then on two polar opposite ends of the spectrum are the office chores or grunt work, and the high profile stretch assignments or glamorous work. Office chores are the necessary but often unnoticed little tasks that keep everything running smoothly. These can include everything from scheduling meetings, to taking notes, or ordering lunch.
The visible, much more significant work such as initiating a new project, leading a high-profile task force, or engaging with a client; those are the coveted assignments that make people stand out as ready for the next step in their career. As an inclusive leader, it's up to you to give everyone on your team a fair shot. Here are three steps to help you do this. First, take inventory of the current grunt and glamour work that's happening on your team.
What are those tasks? Literally, make a list of all of those little tasks that keep everything running and working as it should. Who is doing this grunt work? Research reported in the Harvard Research Review indicates that women and minorities are more likely to report taking on these roles and being overlooked for the more glamorous opportunities. Now that you have your list, if you notice it's skewed in anyway, redistribute the tasks making it clear that everyone is expected to help with these chores.
It's important that you're transparent about the work you're delegating. Third and perhaps even more important, make a list of the high-profile opportunities you've delegated within your team. Who is currently working in those roles? Now, you may have legitimate reasons for choosing the people you did for each of those assignments. If you notice that you've looked over anyone, make sure you keep them in mind for the next big opportunity, and there are a couple of additional best practices to keep things equitable going forward.
Avoid making assumptions about your employees. Our unconscious bias, often leads us to exclude people from opportunities. We think things like, he's too young to interact with this client, or she has a family and wouldn't want an international assignment. Inform everyone of upcoming special assignments, rather than following up with only those who've expressed interest. By making these opportunities transparent, you're holding yourself accountable to rotating the best opportunities equitably.
Build skills where needed. As you work to be more inclusive in delegating tasks, you might find that some of your teammates need additional training to be ready for the next big opportunity. It's worthwhile to invest the time and resources in developing those skills across your team. If you always rely on the same high-potential performers, what will you do if one leaves your team? As a leader, the professional careers of your employees are tied to your decisions.
As an inclusive leader, you can insure everyone on your team has opportunities to grow, and excel by delegating responsibilities fairly.
- Creating a shared understanding of why inclusion matters
- Establishing trust
- Using inclusive language
- Providing feedback in diverse teams
- Discovering implicit associations
- Delegating work and opportunities equitably
- How unconscious bias creeps into the hiring process