Job satisfaction is a key element in retaining quality employees. But there are several factors that we need to evaluate to determine what keeps us motivated in our work. Are you bored? Do you need more creativity? Do you need constant reminders of how our talents are needed? While there may be some element of truth in these areas, what should be at the top of the pyramid, and what will help us achieve satisfaction in other areas, is defining our roles.

A role moves beyond the title. A title is simply what we add to our business card and email signature. We have to know the definition of that title. What does it stand for? What do we stand for? Where do we fit in the puzzle that makes up our company?

When our role is defined, we can build from there. Ask yourself: What are my tasks? What are the goals that stem from those tasks? Is there room for creativity and expansion within those assigned tasks? How does my team fit into the big picture?

Over time, the lines can become blurred. We’ve been in a particular position for so long that we’ve forgotten our original goals. And companies change. New team members can create challenges. The company’s objectives may have been restructured. Change happens often and if we’re not careful, we can become lost in the shuffle.

Understanding roles is needed

A clear definition of where we stand and where we’re going creates in us a behavior to succeed. We know what we need to do. We are psychologically made to feel that we belong and we’re needed. We can then view ourselves as part owner of the company and that what we do has an impact on the company’s bottom line.

Understanding this role requires that we have an outline or a list of our responsibilities. And if within that list we have the flexibility to create our own concepts of our obligations and what they mean to us, that creative growth keeps us motivated.

If we’re not clear about our responsibilities – what we stand for, what our goals should be – then it’s difficult to move forward. In other words, instead of taking the wheel in the driver’s seat, we’re passengers in the back, aware we’re moving, but not sure where we’re going or how we’re getting there. When our path is clear and the signs along the way give us direction, then we’re more apt to grab that wheel and steer it where it needs to go.

Take action

Reevaluate your own role. If you’re not clear about your responsibilities, start by asking questions, both to yourself and your supervisor. Learn as much as you can about the company and its goals; figure out your strengths and how you’d like to use them; determine where you can be an asset.

When you’ve defined that strength or talent, think about where in your organization that strength would be of value. Have a conversation with your supervisor (or business partner) about how you can best implement this strength, and agree on a start date.

Make adjustments if certain responsibilities aren’t as detrimental to the overall picture. If you are weak in certain areas that are important to the structure of the business, identify those areas and create the mind-set that you will work to bolster yourself in those areas. Involve other team members and use their abilities. Redefine your role in the company if you have to. Reorganization among the team might be needed.

Make it your goal, today, to be clear about where you fit in the company. We all need stability. Understanding how to achieve that stability will motivate us to continue moving forward.