Work and Complexity are continually intertwined. As a manager you deal with this on a daily basis, as an employee you constantly deal with challenges that arise on your way to complete tasks. The information below is from the Exponent Leadership Process _ a process for improving your team and leadership. Contact Mike…lets create successful paths to increase your effectiveness and great work.


…the complexity in a task lies not in the goal but in what you have to do in order to get there.”

Complexity of Work at the Front Line -

Complexity may be identified in terms of the number of variables that have to be dealt with in a given time in a situation, the clarity and precision with which they can be identified, and their rate of change. (Jaques 1998)

When you are involved in completing work your ability to make decisions and use your skilled knowledge to overcome obstacles is what you are paid for.

As a manager you have several layers of complexity on your work;

  • Your own task assignments that you have to complete
  • The task assignments that you delegate to subordinates
  • The task assignments that your manager needs your assistance with
  • Coaching and feedback that adds value to the work being completed by your subordinates

The complexity of a problem does not lie in the complexity of the goal, BUT in the complexity of the pathway that has to be constructed and then traversed in order to get to the goal.

  • Meaning that – the complexity in the task lies not in the goal (itself) BUT in what you have to do in order to get there.

As a manager your accountability is supplying and ensuring that people have the necessary ability to;

  • Handle the complexity of the goal assigned
  • Value the work that is assigned or that they are doing
  • Have the Skilled Knowledge to complete the task and if not YOU are able to find the resources needed to develop the skilled knowledge.
  • Exercise the requisite Wisdom in working with others
  • Have the necessary temperament to handle this workload and the complexity of the task
Complexity is a path;
  • Work (and its complexity) is making decisions and solving problems that are within your Current Applied Capabilities.
  • This work is for you to choose ways around challenges as they arise, and to create new ways for solving these challenges as needed.
  • Obeying known rules and regulations is not work: YOU deciding how to best create or follow a path to complete the goal under particular circumstances within the rules & regulations (set boundaries) – that is work.