How to Ask Your Boss for More Responsibilities

Whether you’re chasing a salary increase, promotion, title change, or you’re proactively seeking opportunities to upskill, asking your boss for more job responsibilities can be a tricky task.

Balancing more responsibility while managing your existing workload can be challenging, hence it is important to plan ahead when asking for more job responsibilities. Here are a few tips on how to do so while achieving a balanced outcome. 

Be very clear on the responsibilities you want to take on

First, be clear on the skills you want to develop, or the areas you want to gain more experience in. You can then invest in projects that would help you reach your desired goals. If you are striving for a new promotion, observe the skills and responsibilities of co-workers in those roles to identify where to focus your efforts. If you’re looking for a pay rise, you’ll need to identify where to add value for the company to justify an increase in salary. Focus on projects or tasks that can help the business save time or increase profitability.

Look for opportunities to make an impact

It is crucial to demonstrate how your extra projects will add value. Go through your list of potential new responsibilities, and evaluate their benefits for the business. Pick those you believe will deliver the most tangible impact, to put up a strong business case for your manager. If you’re working on a project, set clear timelines, objectives, outcomes and KPIs. If it’s an ongoing role, evaluate its impact on the business over time. For example, if it’s productivity-related, you could set an expected amount of hours saved per month.

 

Arm yourself with new skills

It can never hurt to gain additional skills on the side and bolster your argument for taking on more advanced tasks at work. Look for development opportunities – online courses, books and training modules – that you can take advantage of, to ready yourself for when new responsibilities come your way. When the time is right, don’t forget to let your boss know about those newly acquired skills. 

Come with a plan and options

Do prepare for questions around how you will manage your current workload and performance with added responsibilities. One way is to present a plan detailing how you will free up time to manage the additional work – will you delegate some tasks to someone else? Or can you improve your productivity by streamlining processes?

Demonstrating such a plan reassures your boss that new tasks won’t impact your current role. However, be prepared for some pushback. If so, note down the concerns and follow up with possible solutions.

Choose your timing and words wisely

Timing can also play a big role in driving a successful outcome.– Some great opportunities to discuss a step up in responsibilities include your mid-year or end-of-year review, during less busy times in the year, ahead of a company restructure or staff leaving the business, for instance. 

How you talk to your boss can have a big impact as well: try to frame it as discussing ideas to improve your department, or taking some of the workload off your manager’s shoulders, rather than saying, “I want to gain more experience” or “I need this for a promotion”.

Looking for career guidance? If you are exploring career changes and need professional advice, let WSG’s career coaches help you.

Find out where help is needed

Your bosses may have a lot on their plate and may not know where additional support is needed across the business. It can be helpful to look at other teams and departments to identify opportunities for new responsibilities. With the right approach, branching out from your team can be an excellent networking opportunity and help you put your best foot forward for promotions. 

Remember, it’s a dialogue

Regardless of the outcome, asking for more responsibility demonstrates that you’re proactive and willing to grow. Even if rejected, don’t be discouraged – at least you’ve started the conversation. If your manager is aware that you want to take on more, they may find new projects or more opportunities for you. 

This article is contributed by Michael Page.

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