Expanding Your Scope
by Lucas Stahl
Posted on May 16, 2019
Building upon your skillsets and removing complacency
5 To-dos that will make your manager happy:
It’s common to have personal goals to help move you up the corporate ladder but have you thought about your managers goals? I’ve learned the quickest way to pave your path is to look at what your manager is doing and thinking outside the box on how you can enhance their workflow.
Often times we get caught up doing the day-to-day operations, waiting for our review to come along and expecting change. Did you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting change? So how do we make a change? How do we make sure when that review comes along the promotion follows? Here are 5 steps you can take to improve your work situation, all of which take the I out of the equation and focuses more on the WE.
Step 1 – Get organized! Find some sort of tool that can collect all the projects you are working on, that way you can showcase what you have done, what you will be doing and ultimately a good idea of how much bandwidth you actually have. A personal favorite of mine is Smartsheet, it’s basically Microsoft Excel on steroids and can be accessed online and via app.
Step 2 – Take on projects that are outside of your wheelhouse. It’s never too late to learn new traits. In fact it’s almost better that you do look to expand upon your skillset. Taking on a project that you have little experience will challenge you and reward you, if you can buckle down and do the work. Not to mention, it’s another notch on your belt and ultimately your resume. I think back to the first time I developed an email nurture campaign, I had very little experience, so I took it upon myself to take an online courses to further educate myself on best practices. It’s great to say yeah, I can send out a marketing emails but learning how to develop a strategic email marketing campaign is a whole other achievement on its own, something I can now toot my own horn about.
Step 3 – Review the departments yearly goals so that you can best align your personal goals with that of the company’s. If email marketing isn’t an initiative on the year perhaps it’s not the best time to take up further education to better enhance your skills in that area. However, if improving organic social media marketing is one of your company’s main pillars then get involved. Ask to sit in on meetings, ask to shadow others with a higher knowledge of that specific field. Taking initiative to improve upon the company’s goals will never go unnoticed, it will most likely be encouraged. Obviously, making sure you have the bandwidth to do so and have a good understanding of step 1 so you don’t fall behind in your own projects.
Step 4 – Most importantly have insight into what your manager is working on. If you don’t have an understanding it means your line of communication needs improvement. Knowing what they are working on gives you the opportunity to take some of that workload off of their shoulders and ultimately expand upon your scope. Usually your manager is working on more senior level projects and as a result carry heavier workloads with higher recognition. Taking on some of their projects puts you in a position to say at the end of the year, this was outside of my usual responsibilities, but you wanted to better the department. It shows you are a team player and someone that the company can trust. If you find your manager coming up with ideas or saying “let’s have a think about doing…” then perhaps really do that. Think about what they are talking about and take it on as a project. Take a concept and bring it to life. Judge the realistic likelihood that it’s something that can be accomplished, don’t set yourself up for failure but take chances. If you are comfortable with the day-to-day operations that is fine, but if you are looking to move up the fastest way to do so is to expand upon what is right in front of you and your manager’s workload is the writing on the walls.
Step 5 – Attribute your success directly to your manager. When trying to move up the ladder the typical course requires you to either move into your manager’s position, supersede them or surpass them. By attributing your success to the support of your manager you can avoid burning bridges. Any good leader should want their direct reports to move up, it’s a statement to their management, but we all know that isn’t always the case. Sometimes taking a more political approach to cover all aspects is a great foot forward. It doesn’t hurt in the long run knowing that it will typically make all parties happy as long as you aren’t completely sucking up. You know the difference from complimenting and completely sticking your head up someone’s, you know…
While I don’t guarantee anything in life, I found in my experiences putting your best foot forward in the workplace starts with unburdening your managers workload. You’ll know this when you are a manager and have your direct reports doing the same.
As always, best of luck to you out there!!!
I hope this was helpful and feel free to comment with suggestions or questions.
- Man of Stahl