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The easiest way to advance your career is to begin taking on more responsibility at work. Follow this step-by-step process and start moving your career forward.
Opening yourself up to more responsibilities at work is a great way to indicate that you’re ready to advance your career. A lot of people find success with this method too. It’s not always realistic to expect a higher position to be offered to you if all you’re doing is meeting the minimum. Every time you move up in the hierarchy, you’ll gain new responsibilities anyways. Follow these steps to take on more responsibility at work, and show your management that you’re ready for the next level.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
What it means to take on more responsibilities at work and why it’s important.
How more responsibilities can help guide the direction your career can grow.
A four-step process for taking on more responsibilities at work.
The type of responsibilities that you might add to your workload is variable depending on your position and industry. For some, it could mean taking on additional shifts while others might manage larger teams. For general leadership responsibilities, ask if you could help lead team meetings or offer to make the schedule.
Professional development is the act of continuously strengthening your professional skills. It can be performed in many ways, but the most accessible is through how you behave at work. Adding more responsibilities to your plate is a great way to slowly develop your skills.
Consider what strengths and weaknesses you bring to the table already as an employee. You can choose to pursue responsibilities that highlight your strengths, or you might choose responsibilities that might improve upon a weakness to make you a stronger employee overall.
To become a consideration for a promotion, you first need to be noticed by the management team. The easiest way to achieve that is by starting a conversation and offering to do more.
As you take on more responsibilities, you might learn more about yourself too. Maybe you start managing a project, only to find out that you don’t like working as part of a team. Perhaps you’re asked to fix the scanner and realize that you love the intricacies of machine repair. Taking on more responsibilities allows you to try new things, and eventually narrow down the direction in which you might want to move your career.
Before you ask your boss to have a meeting, you need to prepare yourself. Do a mental analysis of the office, program, production, or organization. Where are the pain points, and what kind of solutions can you come up with? Write some ideas down before the meeting. If your management team asks you for ideas, being prepared with some will reflect that much better on you.
The responsibilities you suggest can be enhancing an already existing system or implementing a new system altogether. There are many ways to be creative as you consider extra work you can take on. The main goal is that you somehow make someone else’s life a little easier. So when you do come up with your list of ideas, make sure that they are items the company actually needs and which will increase efficiency somehow.
Another thing to consider is the direction you want your career to move. If you know that you want to pursue a position in management, then look for windows of opportunity that align with the type of responsibilities a manager would have. Alternatively, if you want to transition away from your current role, start making connections with other department supervisors. Don’t be secretive about it, but display a curiosity about their side of things. Show interest and ask if you can help out in any way.
The best way to tell your boss that you’d like more responsibility is to do so respectfully. Keep it positive so you don’t come off as ungrateful for your current workload. Try explaining that you are committed to the company and are looking for ways to participate as a stronger addition to the team.
In response, you might be asked about what you had in mind. This is where your list of ideas will come in handy. Your boss might also respond by giving you options for new responsibilities. If they don’t match what you were hoping for, you can open up a dialogue. At the end of the day, take whatever additional responsibilities are offered, you can always grow from there.
If your boss says there are no responsibilities for you to take on, remember to be gracious, and reaffirm your eagerness to help out in any way. Leaving the door open is the best way to maneuver this situation. You never know what might come your way after presenting yourself as open to more.
Now that you have more responsibility, you’ve been given an opportunity. Use it wisely! Let your management team know that they made the right decision by following through on your agreement. If you maintain it long enough, you might end up being offered a promotion or new position.
Taking on more responsibility is different than being taken advantage of. If you reach a point where you have taken on all of the responsibilities of a higher position but have not received a raise or promotion, it’s time to talk with management. Outline your increased duties compared to the job description and ask to discuss compensation.
Taking on more responsibilities at work is the best way to show your boss that you’re interested in advancing your career.
Additional responsibilities can expose you to different types of skills. Use this knowledge to help guide your career.
Follow the steps provided to make sure you come off as respectful and loyal when you approach your boss about additional responsibilities.
Emma is a certified employment specialist with over 6 years of experience in career mentorship and employment training. With an affinity for technical writing, Emma is passionate about developing training manuals, policy and procedures, onboarding documents, and fiscal management systems. In 2020 she helped design Colorado’s first state-certified training program for people with disabilities entering the workforce.