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Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for July, 2015

Want more responsibility on the job? Ask for it!

In today’s work environment so many professionals are stretched to the limit. Yet, if you’re in a new or evolving role or you’re looking to exercise your potential and expand your career opportunities, you may find yourself wishing you could take more on. If you can relate, I hope you’ll find this brief article helpful.

———–Published in the Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY, July 28, 2015.

Want more responsibility on the job? Ask for it!
by Donna Rawady

Do you find yourself wanting more responsibility in your role at work? Are you confident you’re able to take on that work? Then, by all means, ask for it!

Your greatest opportunity for a timely response and approval occurs when you are able to approach your manager with specific recommendations about what you might want to take on and how you might go about it.

Consider these issues as you prepare and present your recommendation:

• Ask for some time with your manager. Let her know that you’d like to discuss additional ways in which you can add value to the department and/or the organization.

• Before you ask for the appointment be sure to be fully prepared in the event your manager offers to meet right away.

• Create a one-page document outlining the new responsibilities you’d like to take on (with a training plan and timeline, if applicable) and submit the document to your manager during the meeting as a take-away for her consideration.

• When discussing the proposed change, be sure to include how your increase in responsibilities will benefit your manager, the team, and/or the organization.

• You may also suggest that you and your manager schedule a meeting within a few weeks after you pick up the work to evaluate how it’s going from both of your perspectives. Building in a review meeting may make it easier for your manager to approve your proposal based on a built in evaluation of the change and your performance.

If you know you want additional responsibilities yet you’re at a loss as to what specifically you might recommend, then simply begin a dialogue. Approach your manager and ask for her advice as to how you might go about exploring new learning opportunities and/or an increase in responsibilities. Then, follow through and continue discussions from there.

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A small gesture of leadership can make a big difference.

A few weeks ago, I was one of the last scheduled Volunteer of America donation pick-ups before they announced the pending closings of their retail stores here in Rochester.

The VOA truck arrived on time with two men who would pick up a large heavy bedroom set and several boxes of household items. I could tell pretty readily that one of the men had experience and was guiding and supervising the younger man who clearly was on his first or second day on the job. In order to share the story, I’ll just call one man “the supervisor” and the other the “young man”. Actually, both were quite young which was one of the reasons I was keenly aware of the leadership that they both innately demonstrated.

When they decided to move the bed frame, the young man was backing out of the doorway holding one end of the frame and the supervisor was holding the other end walking towards the door.

The supervisor paused and stated that they would need to come back in and take the frame apart (they had hoped not to) because he realized that it wasn’t going to make the turn around the doorway to the hallway. The young man said that he thought it would make it. The supervisor reiterated that he was sure it wouldn’t. The young man respectfully persisted with a “How about we try it?”. I could see the Supervisor hesitate for a moment and then he respectfully asked if they did give it a try, and it didn’t work, was the young man going to be OK with that. And the young man said that he would. The supervisor immediately said: “OK!” And they proceeded. The young man was right! They were able to carry the bed frame through the door and make the turn into the hallway. The supervisor just said: “Well that was a good call!” And the young man broke into a big satisfied smile.

In those few moments, both gentlemen displayed mutual respect and some pretty cool examples of leadership. The young man respectfully stuck to his guns based on his confidence. And the supervisor understood the importance of respecting and engaging the young man by trying his idea. And in turn, they began building trust.

Sometimes, brief exchanges that we have with others at work can make a big difference in our working relationships.