Taking on more responsibility at work can be a tricky endeavor. If you are feeling underutilized or could use a more challenging project, it certainly can make for a dull day at work. On the other hand, you don’t want to appear like you are an expendable employee who is not actively contributing to the organization. What approach should you take if you'd like to increase your workload and possibly speed up the path to promotion, but do not want to portray yourself in a negative light?
Keep Communications Lines Open
Your boss cannot read your mind. If you feel like your skills are underutilized, do not be afraid to reach out to your boss and express your desire to explore related areas of expertise where you can add value. Do you have a firm grasp on your current responsibilities while still having empty periods of time during the day? Be sure to explain why you believe that you are well-suited for the task at hand.
Start the Conversation
This has the potential to be an awkward subject to broach with your supervisor, so before you start the conversation, think about the best way to approach the situation. Think about your motives for asking for an increase in responsibility. Are you simply bored at work, or are you really looking to contribute in new ways to the organization’s success? Just be sure to run the numbers and figure out if the proposed idea would really be beneficial to the company.
Take the Initiative
If you see that something needs to be done, do not be afraid to take the initiative to do it. If a small problem comes up while you’re working, attempt to take care of the issue on your own, especially if you are confident about the appropriate course of action. Try to assert more independence, and to a certain extent, become less reliant on your boss for feedback on your daily activities.
Be Friendly and Approachable
Keep a friendly attitude so that people don’t feel hesitant to approach you. If coworkers think of you as anything less than a positive person, they will not want to interact with you at all, much less approach you to collaborate on any projects.
Ensure that you are aptly and effectively handling your current duties before you look to take on more responsibility. After all, nothing is worse for a business than a disengaged employee!