At work or even in our personal lives we sometimes feel unhappy that we are asked to be responsible for work beyond our purview. The story below shows how when we do extend ourselves and bring a sense of ownership to all that we do, it can actually become a game changer.
One of my clients wrote me about how a small change she made led to big results at her job. Here’s the background: In our coaching sessions, we often discussed the ways she was expected to go above and beyond at her job. She didn’t like being asked to do these extra things because she wasn’t paid for them. We covered a number of issues related to this but one idea we discussed was changing her perspective on the situation. Instead of ‘feeling forced’ to do something, what did it look like if she viewed it from a different perspective. She decided to look at it through the perspective of opportunity and impact on her future.
She decided she wanted to try a different approach and had great results. I asked her if she would write her story so that I could share it. Here’s the story she shared with me. “Amy, I decided to take a different approach with my job responsibilities and can’t believe how well it went. Hope you don’t mind reading my story – We had a big marketing launch 2 weeks away and my boss really hadn’t brought me into it. He was working with a lot of people from different groups and one of them invited me to a meeting about sending out a big invitation email. On the call, everyone was asking me what our group wanted and what they should do. So, I started telling them what I thought we should do. I also promised to follow-up on a number of items and track down some answers. Regular calls started and I was one of the main contributors. All the while I kept updating my boss by email and a couple weekly 1:1 meetings.
The project went really well and the launch was a big hit. I worked a lot of extra hours but didn’t seem to mind this time. I really enjoyed leading my parts. Plus, I got some good face-time with my boss’ boss! She was so pleased with my work that she sent me a really great email and a small spot bonus! It felt really good. I suppose the opportunity kind of fell into my lap but I fought my urge to push back and decided to instead show my ability to take initiative and solve problems. Thanks again. See you Thursday!”
I love these kinds of stories because sometimes it is a small change that can really lead to break-through moments that move someone’s career forward. Her email came to me a couple weeks ago and since then she has been acting like an owner. Now her boss is starting to bring her in to more important meetings and collaborating with her rather than giving her action items. She is feeling less forced to take on responsibilities outside of her role as she is seeing them in a new light and how they can impact her future. She is well on her way to better relationships at work and a satisfying, promising career.