Several years ago, I oversaw some annual events for the organization I worked for. Sometimes several dozen people would attend, sometimes a smaller number. But regardless of the number of attendees, there were innumerable details that had to be coordinated. And to handle all those details, I turned to Beth. I knew as soon as I handed the event off to Beth, it was as good as done, because she came back to me only if she had questions. She handled every single detail with perfect ease. She could run an intimate event, a small conference, or even a large convention. That’s because she took ownership of whatever she was asked to do.
I remember the many phone conversations with Beth. I would ask her, “What do we need to do about this?” And she would inevitably say, “Already taken care of.” While still on the call, I would think of something else and ask, “Have you been able to deal with that?” And again, she would say, “I’ve already got it covered.”
Beth led by taking ownership of her role. She understood what was expected of her, and she expanded her role by thinking through everything that was involved with her responsibilities. As a result, her job was done well, and the organization benefited as well.
By being willing to pitch in and do what is necessary, you will become invaluable to everyone around you. You do not have to wait for someone else’s permission to take ownership of your situation. Your boss wants you to take charge of your job. Here are three specific actions you can focus on in your workplace to take ownership of your role.
1. Be responsible
The Apostle Paul made it clear that you must focus on being responsible for the work that you do. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG).
If you have to depend on someone else to make you do your job, then you are not being responsible. Make the decision that you will be fully present at your job and take responsibility for yourself. Do not look to anyone else to tell you what to do. God has given you talents. It’s your responsibility to use them to the best of your ability (Matthew 25:21, 23).
2. Be curious
Curiosity requires that you have your eyes wide open. You have to be observant to notice what’s going on around you. Therefore, be intentionally curious. You will notice only what you look for.
Be willing to ask questions. Figure out how you can do your job better. Learn how your colleagues are getting results. Become a constant learner within your field.
Once you have learned how to do your job better, ask how you can be helpful beyond what you are currently doing. Find out how other divisions do what they are doing. See how the work you are doing can be completed in a way that expedites or improves the entire process for the company. Use your intentional curiosity to make yourself invaluable.
3. Take your job seriously
Work is work. There’s no other way around it. Nonetheless, dive in and give it your all. As the Scripture says, “don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart” (Colossians 3:23 MSG).
Beth did her work well because she knew that others were counting on her. She made her work a priority. She invested herself in becoming an expert in her field, and she became an invaluable resource to me and the rest of our colleagues.
The same intensity that you bring to caring for your family and hobbies should be reflected at your workplace. Everyone there should see that when you are at work, you are there to contribute to making the organization the best it can be.
Take ownership of your role at work like Beth did. Go out of your way to take responsibility for yourself and the work that you do. Be a serious contributor to the success of everyone around you. And you will likewise reap the benefit of your efforts.
This article has been adapted from the #1 international bestselling book, Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew.
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