How to Ask for More Responsibility at Work

You’re not one to brag, but seriously, you’ve completely mastered your current position. Sure, you enjoy that level of confidence at work, but it also means you’ve been feeling hungry for some new challenges.

You’re eager to take on more within your current company, but you’re also not sure about the best way to go about it.

Here’s the good news: this desire to handle additional responsibilities is a good thing for both you and your employer. However, the process of making the request still requires some careful thought and consideration. Let’s dig into what you should do next.

 

1. Own Your Current Work

I’d like to think this one would go without saying, but that doesn’t mean I could leave it off the list entirely.

Obviously, asking for increased responsibilities isn’t going to go over well if you’re not meeting expectations with any work that’s already assigned to you. If you’re missing deadlines or your quality is suffering, your manager will understandably be hesitant to add even more to your plate.

Before doing anything else, honestly evaluate your own work performance. Have you been exceeding your goals, or just barely scraping by? That’s important context for you to have before deciding whether or not to move forward with any other conversation.

 

2. Know What You Mean By “More Responsibility”

You’re going to need to talk with your manager about your desire to take on more, but you should come prepared with a solution — not just a problem.

Asking for “more responsibility” is pretty ambiguous. What exactly does that mean to you? Are you hoping to manage others? Lead a project? Own a portion of an existing process? Try your hand in a different department or area of expertise?

It’s also important to be aware of what your company might need. Are there certain teams that are overwhelmed or bottlenecks that are always slowing projects down? Those are natural places where you could step in, take more responsibility, and provide real value for your company in the process.

The bottom line is you need to know exactly what you’re asking for before making the request. Don’t skip this important step of ironing out the specifics.

 

 

You should come prepared with a solution — not just a problem.

 

Source: @this_is_ess

 

3. Set a Meeting

Any sort of conversation related to your career growth deserves full attention from both you and your supervisor, so you should set a meeting when you can both focus on the topic at hand.

If you already have a regularly scheduled one-on-one with your manager, that’s a great time to bring this up, as those conversations are quite literally designed to talk about your workload and ambitions.

Don’t have a standing meeting? Send your boss a quick note to get something on their calendar. That way you can be assured that you both have enough time to really talk through your request, your goals, and any questions that come up.

 

4. Keep Things Positive

Maybe you feel like all of the work you’ve been doing to this point is beneath your skill level. Or perhaps you’re so bored on a daily basis that you’ve even alphabetized the variety of teas in the break room.

That’s frustrating, and feeling underutilized is a totally justifiable reason to request that more work be added to your to-do list. However, don’t approach this conversation with all sorts of complaints and grievances. Instead, frame things in a more positive way so that you express your desire to help your company — not just yourself.

Whether you want to help ease the burden on a specific team or are confident that your Photoshop capabilities are an untapped asset, keep things upbeat and focused on value rather than your frustrations.

 

Keep things upbeat and focused on value rather than your frustrations.

 

Source: @branchabode

 

5. Give Your Boss Some Time

After you’ve made your request, your boss might need some time to think it through or have conversations with other superiors or teams within your company. So, don’t expect an immediate answer.

At the conclusion of your meeting, tell your manager that you’ll give them some time to mull it over. Don’t be afraid to set a date when you’ll follow up by saying something low pressure like, “How about we check in again on this at the end of next week?”

This gives the necessary wiggle room for your boss to appropriately explore the available options, while still demonstrating that this is something you’re highly invested in.

 

6. Provide Updates

What happens when you finally get the go-ahead to own more work? Do you just take it and run with it? Well, sort of — but you also should be prepared to provide some updates about how things are going.

After about a month or so of those increased responsibilities, set a meeting or send an email to your manager to loop them in on how things have been going. What do you think is going well? What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Remember, owning new assignments isn’t just nerve-wracking for you — it can also inspire some anxiety in your supervisor. Keeping those lines of communication open can be helpful and reassuring for everybody (yourself included!).

 

Wanting to take on more responsibility at work is a good thing for both you and your employer, but that doesn’t mean that the request can be made without any sort of thought or consideration.

When you’re ready to add more to your own plate, follow these steps to have that conversation in a way that’s professional and actually proves that you’re worthy of that increased responsibility.