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How to ask for more responsibility at work: 5 steps to take

A young woman engages with her coworkers during a virtual meeting on the computer while she works from home.

Think you’re ready to ask for more responsibility at work but aren’t sure how to actually ask? Kudos to you for being the go-getter type!

I’ve been in roles during my career where I was at the same point you are and asked myself what’s next, what can I learn and how do I ask for more responsibility?

Taking on more responsibility at work is something that will allow you to continue to grow and will open new opportunities with your employer. Here’s the best way to get started:

5 steps on how to ask for more responsibility at work

1. Show you're capable of taking on more.

Become the subject matter expert with your current job duties. Know your current job and know it well.

If your position requires you to follow regulations and laws, read through those regulations or laws. Make sure you follow through and get your tasks done. Learn as much as you can about your company and the industry you work in.

Remember, over-delivering is never a bad thing.

2. Be proactive.

If you know another team member needs help completing a project or task and you have time, offer help. Take the initiative.

An example of this would be that you realize your desk work instructions haven’t been reviewed or updated since last year. Provide the updated information to your leader and begin by saying, “I realized this wasn’t done since last year, so I took on the task of reviewing and making sure it was updated …”.

This goes a long way. As a leader of a large team currently, I appreciate people who do this and have items on their radar that, honestly, may have not been a priority on mine.

It shows the associate is committed to the team and the organization.

3. Be specific when asking for more responsibility.

You need to be specific when you have the conversation with your leader about wanting to take on more responsibility at work.

Are you looking to take on the daily task of checking the group email box or do you want more responsibility and take on the lead for a group project?

Your leader can’t read your mind, so be sure you’re clear on how much more responsibility you want. Otherwise, you could get more than you wanted, and that can lead to negative consequences if you can’t keep up with your new responsibilities.

4. Be prepared for questions.

Coming to the conversation prepared is one of the most important steps on how to ask for more responsibility at work.

During your meeting, your leader will likely ask how you plan on managing the new responsibility while ensuring you’re still successful with your current responsibilities. Be sure to have your answer ready.

Be prepared to walk your leader through how you will manage your time and your desk to ensure you’re successful.

5. Realize you may be told "no."

So, you’ve gotten up the nerve, had what you thought was the perfect timing to talk with your leader and the answer is no. This happened a few times during my career.

However, a month or two after my conversations, my leader approached me and, due to circumstances changing with the team or organization, they had new opportunities for me.

That “no” sometimes changes to a “yes” and it can even lead to more responsibility than you were anticipating. Keep a positive attitude!

Extra tip to keep in mind

You’re the owner of your career. Make sure you put time into identifying your strengths and your weaknesses and work on both areas.

A college professor once told me that every two to three years, a person should physically stand up in their office or cube and ask themselves: “Am I challenged? Am I appreciated? Do I enjoy what I’m doing?” If any of these answers are “no,” you need to work on ways to make a change.

Asking for more responsibility is something that can change the “no” to a “yes” very easily and quickly!

Looking for a job with more responsibility?

Have you already tried the above steps and still feel unfulfilled at your current job? Check out Schneider’s openings and apply for a position that will challenge and excite you.

About the author
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Alicia has been with Schneider since 2009. She started at Schneider as a Logistics Technician and has since held roles as a Contract Administrator, Immigration Manager, Compliance Technician and is currently a Regulatory Manager that oversees Driver Qualification files, Hazardous Materials, Citations, Inspections, Driver Employment Verifications, Vehicle Incidents and CSA.

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