At some point in our career we have experienced a time when we thought we could go beyond our responsibilities. When we felt we could contribute more to our company and find solutions to problems. While we have our own role in an organisation, there will be a time when we need to do more – usually through projects or leading an initiative. However most of the time, we ask ourselves about the timing and if we can do more. We can think, analyse and ponder about this, but for me I think it starts when you raise your hand.

In the past, I thought of myself as a very hard working employee (I humbly consider myself as still one!). I do my best to hit all my performance indicators and there are times when I exceed the targets. I trust in my skills and with this I am able to overcome challenges in work. However, there are times when I felt I was not able to maximise my full potential and wanted to do more. I saw issues within the organisation and thought I can solve them if given the opportunity to do so. I was certain that the key was to perform well in my role, exceed my targets and consequently, I will be asked to step up and solve these problems.

Months passed by and I had not received any assignments or projects from my manager. In fact, my manager had given the projects addressing certain organisation issues to some of my colleagues. I was disappointed. I felt I was not fairly recognised. With this growing frustration, my performance was greatly affected and started to dwindle

When I was invited for a catch up with my manager, I didn’t hesitate to say what I felt. I felt unrecognised and thought it was unfair for some of my team mates to receive the projects when I was performing better. My manager, surprised, told me quite an eye opener “I would have given the projects to you, if you had raised your hand”

We should face it, our managers are not psychics. They are unable to read what’s exactly on our mind and what we want to achieve. Of course we could always say it’s their job but a greater responsibility falls unto us and that is ownership of our progression.

Many fall into this “expectation” that we will be asked to step up or even be tapped to lead a project without saying we want to do it. And yes, letting your manager know you want to do a certain project, task or lead an initiative, could make a big difference. All you have to do is tell them and raise your hand!

So when do you raise your hand?

Raising a hand in the corporate world would be different than what we were used to during our school days. Raising your hand to take on a project or do something beyond your current role requires confidence and accountability.

However, before you go beyond your responsibilities there are two very important questions you need to answer:

  1. Am I performing at the right level in my current role?
  2. Do I have capacity to accept more responsibilities?

In the past I was so eager to learn more, I took on projects, initiatives, even those that were not related to work. I was under the illusion that this would impress my manager and make me more valuable to the organisation. I was wrong and I learned this the hard way. On my performance review, I merely met the expectations for my role and my performance indicators were all below the standard.

There is a purpose for every job, and the simplest way to be value adding to your company is to do well on the role you were hired for. So when you ask yourself if you’re performing at the right level in your current role, you think of your expertise. You need to ensure that you are performing well or beyond from what is expected from you.

Now that you are really good in what you do, the next question is, can you do more?

Once you build expertise you become more efficient in doing your tasks and you can make decisions quicker than before. With this new found competence and efficiency, you now have more time to work on other things and that’s when, you raise your hand!

When you raise your hand, you are showing interest and passion that you believe you can do something to improve processes or systems or address certain issues within the organisation. Raising a hand is a starter, it is the first step. When you raise your hand, that’s the time you speak with your manager and discuss projects or initiatives.

And why do you need to raise your hand?

When you raise your hand to do a certain task or project, you are forced to go out of your comfort zone. This is when you learn to think, adapt and make decisions beyond your usual role. It’s another level of building your expertise. It allows you to stretch out and know your limits and go beyond them.

Knowing when and why you should ask for more responsibilities could be very motivating especially when you work with your manager to create new venues for progress. Progress is a responsibility that falls not only on your manager’s decisions but most of the time with yours. And it all starts by raising a hand!

Jorj Maceda – Resource Team Lead

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