Career Advice Workplace Professional Development

What To Do When You Want To Take On More Responsibility at Work

By: Kaylyn McKenna
Oct 14, 2020 • 7 min read

What To Do When You Want To Take On More Responsibility at Work

Often in the course of your employment, there will come a time where you realize that you would like to take on more responsibility at work. You may be getting bored or feeling limited in your current role, you may aspire to move into leadership, want to diversify your skills, or you may simply be ready for a new challenge. Taking on more responsibility in your current role is a great way to prove yourself in the company and work towards a promotion down the line.

Whatever your reason for wanting to take on more responsibility, we’ve compiled some steps that you can take to help you achieve your goal.

more responsibility at work

Identify Opportunities

Find opportunities to take on more responsibility. Consider where the company currently seems to need help. If your manager, coworker, or supervisor seems overwhelmed, think about what you could offer to take off their plate. This is a great way to take on more responsibility while also showing that you are a team-player and are trying to be genuinely helpful.

Skills and Interests

Also, identify ways in which your skills and interests could be used to contribute to the organization. These don’t necessarily have to be directly related to your current job. For example, if you are a front desk worker at a small business, and you really enjoy social media, you could take a look at the businesses’ online presence. Focus on suggesting social platforms that they should start utilizing. Or recommend that they could be posting more frequently online. You could then also share some content ideas with your manager. These aren’t inherently part of the primary front desk role, but the proposal shows creativity, interest, and enthusiasm.

Talk To Your Supervisor

Communication is key in the workplace. If your supervisors do not know that you want to take on more responsibility, they may refrain from giving you more responsibility due to overburdening you. This is especially important if you are a newer employee, intern, or a part-time employee.

more responsibility at work

Step Up To The Plate

Once you feel ready to take on more responsibility at work, find time to speak with a supervisor. Let them know that you are interested in growing within your role and ready to assist as needed. If you have already identified opportunities to address the organization’s needs or to better utilize your skillset, share those with your supervisor.

Be Patient

Do not expect your supervisor to sign off on more responsibility right away. Be careful not to frame it as fishing for a promotion if that is not your goal. They may need time to think about your suggestions. Talking to your supervisor will also help ensure that they keep you in mind when future opportunities arise. Or if there is a new task that they need to assign to someone. This should be a low-pressure conversation. Focus on demonstrating your interest in taking on more responsibility, helping them out, and growing as an employee.

more responsibility at work

Be Reliable

If you’re thinking of taking on more responsibility, make sure that you are reliable and demonstrate to others that you can be counted on. If your attendance is spotty, it can be hard for your supervisors to trust you with more responsibility, regardless of your qualifications or your work quality. When supervisors trust someone with a task or project, they want to know that it will be completed consistently and on time.

Make The Effort

Prove that you are reliable and ready for more responsibility by showing up on time (or early!), only calling out when you truly need to, finding coverage for your shift if you can’t make it, and coming to work ready to work. However, simply showing up isn’t enough. You also need to finish tasks or projects that you start and reliably meet deadlines. If you don’t feel that you are performing to the best of your  ability and be honest with yourself on this, it may be best to ask for more responsibility. Take some time to improve in your current role and duties, and then reassess whether you are ready to take on more.

more responsibility at work

Identify Barriers

After you’ve identified your opportunities and ensured that your attendance and reliability will not be a barrier to being given more responsibility, take a moment to consider other barriers. Sometimes part-time employees will want to take on more responsibility, but their availability can be a barrier. Consider whether the opportunities available will work with your current availability. Also, think about whether you have time to take on more responsibility. Are you already very busy during your workday? Would taking on more responsibility cause you to get behind on your existing responsibilities and job duties?

Reach Out to Coworkers

If there’s something in particular that you have an interest in, consider whether you need any additional training to do it. You can start by asking coworkers to show you or tell you about a certain aspect of their duties. Start familiarizing yourself with a task or an area of the business that you have an interest in. You can also complete coursework or a certificate online! Explore sites like Coursera or Hubspot Academy to gain new skills needed to take on more responsibility.

more responsibility at work

Be Proactive

While communication is important, action can be equally as powerful. If you see that something isn’t being done or have an opportunity to go above and beyond, do it. Leadership and responsibility are really about stepping up when needed, so be willing to step up. Volunteer yourself, or help out someone else when you see an immediate need. If the business is short-staffed one day, be ready to help out in any way necessary, even if it falls outside of your job title. Telling your supervisor that you’re ready for more responsibility is great, but don’t be afraid to show them too! Knowing how to juggle multiple priorities and take action will help you demonstrate that you can be counted on.

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