Softwire’s Key Responsibilities, #2 – Widen Your Involvement


12 April 2014, by

This is the second in a series looking in depth at the five “Key Responsibilities” that Softwire asks of its employees, as outlined in this post.

We encourage people, however junior, to look for as many ways as possible that they can contribute. This can be a contribution to the whole company – e.g. by becoming the CSR officer or the Morale officer, both of which are very prestigious posts currently held by relatively new starters – but it can also be through assuming extra responsibility on your project.

I choose my words carefully: “assuming” responsibility, not being given it. If you go and ask your Project Manager what she needs help with on the project, you might be lucky that she’ll have the perfect task for you, well defined and perfectly suited to your capabilities. But more likely, those very project managers who could do with some help, are the ones who are too busy to define a task for you.

I was reminded of this at Christmas time, when I cooked Christmas dinner for my family for the very first time. I was pretty stressed in the kitchen, and a well-meaning relative came in and asked if there was anything they could help with. My immediate reaction was “erm, no, it’s fine, go and sit down and it’ll be ready in a bit”.

However, if they had come in, seen that the carrots needed peeling, and offered to do it, I would have been extremely grateful. The next year, confident that they knew how to prepare carrots the way I liked it, it would have been natural for me to ask them to “just deal with the carrots”.

I think a similar strategy will get you more responsibility on a project too – look for something that needs doing, offer to do it, and then let your manager know how you get on. Beware though – you’ll probably be asked to do it again in future, so make sure it’s more fun than peeling carrots!

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