Nobody wants to take the blame if something does not work out. If an idea succeeds, you get the credit. If it fails, your manager looks bad.
But find small, safe ways to push yourself past your job description and you will build a reputation as someone who gets things done. Superiors will come to have more confidence in you and allow you more responsibilities.
1. Take ResponsibilityNever say "It's not my job.” These are the words of someone not not seeing the bigger picture. They are not interested in anything outside of themselves and are selfish. Throw yourself at opportunities to make a difference. If you throw out the best of yourself, it will positively boomerang back. On the same token, give a bad performance and it will persistently haunt and restrict you.
During an interview, internet marketing guru Seth Godin told an anecdote in which he worked for a software company and came into the office one Christmas day to answer kid’s phone calls on the tech line. He went to the trouble of fulfilling this role although it was outside of his job description. Why? It was to gather important information and problems concerning the software product in question. Next time Seth was at a meeting he was able to raise points not on the agenda because nobody else had taken the initiative.
2. Do Small FavoursGenerously distribute some of your spare time in helping out or listening to others. You don’t need to trouble yourself or jeprodise your schedule. It does not have to be work related either. Some examples of doing favours include but are not limited to: passing on supplier details to a business acquaintance, passing on a sales lead, coaching a colleague on a new piece of software, diagnosing a malfunctioning PC, offering a lift, remembering a birthday, showing an interest in one's family, lending books or or writing down a useful website link. It doesn't cost much.
A word of warning: avoid colleagues who are only ever takers or who make no comment about your efforts. People like this are a black hole of selfish desire. They never reciprocate and believe they can exploit the good intentions of others. These people draw the worst kind of attention to themselves even when they think they've flown under the radar..
Most important of all, do not suck up to managers, leaders or influencers in the workplace. This is pandering of the worst kind and is totally transparent. Nobody respects cheap praise or insincere behavior. Draw the line and know the difference.
3. Say Good Things About OthersTry to find something good to say about other people. It might have been cool or funny at the time but we’ve all been in that situation where we say something later regretted because it boomeranged. Spread positivity about others and have that come back to help instead of haunt you.
Whatever you say about others always finds its way to the person in question via a third party. Say something sincerely positive and you’ll find others in and outside of your immediate circle reciprocating.
Whatever you do or say and wherever you go, the footprints will lead to you, so make them count for something good.
4. Stay LateAfter graduating from university I worked briefly at a local supermarket. Often I would stay 10 or 15 minutes late on certain days to help whoever I was working with that day get off to a good start on their shift. Staff members knew what time I finished my shift and often commented on my staying behind to help out. It was appreciated and frequently reciprocated if I needed help.
More importantly, I was often given first refusal on overtime shifts because of my reputation as a hard worker. Was I being selfish by having an agenda and deliberately letting my shift over run? Yes, but it was win-win.
As already mentioned, be aware of others attempting to take advantage. You can become too generous to the point you are selling yourself short and gaining the wrong type of reputation.
5. Be Fair, Then FirmBeing nice doesn’t mean you are conceding. Nor should being assertive be confused with being aggressive. Working hard earns you the right to make yourself heard and call in a few truths on occasion. There are times when taking control with decisive action is called for.
A customer who is always late paying invoices, or a co worker taking extra long breaks while you pick up the slack can be nipped in the bud with the right words and attitude. It is prudent to allow the other person to read between the lines and correct their behavior on their own first.
It is much better to subtly point out faults without calling direct attention to the matter. Humour can work well because laughter initiates the dopamine reward system of the brain and can actually make someone feel good about doing what you want them to do!
If problems with a person persist and your efforts have failed, it is time to explicitly call out their unacceptable behavior. If you are right nevermind the resentment caused. You started fair and had no choice but to get firm.
- Don't build the wrong reputation. Unfortunately we live in a very judgmental society and simple acts of kindness or consideration can be seen as weakness