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How to convince your boss to give you more responsibility

Meeting with boss

No matter how much you enjoy your job, there will come a time when you need a new challenge.

Eventually you are likely to want more responsibility – not just to make life more interesting but also as a step towards career advancement. How do you convince your boss you can handle it?

  • Learn as much as you can about the construction industry. You can keep up with industry news at Familiarise yourself with your firm’s daily operations and benchmarks, as well as the challenges it faces. Read trade journals and join relevant online groups and communities. If you’re seen to be reading the right kind of material in your spare time it will definitely impress.
  • Always act as a team player. Be friendly and helpful to all your fellow employees, not just your superiors. When you are involved in group discussions, listen to the opinions of others and try to include everyone.
  • Come in every day with a positive attitude. Be friendly and respectful to your boss and start each morning by asking if there’s anything he or she particularly wants you to do that day. Be prepared to work late if the project demands it.
  • Take the initiative wherever possible. Offer to do tasks that nobody else wants to do and to sort out any problems that arise. Make sure you explain why you think you could do the job well.
  • Avoid office gossip. Be friendly towards everyone but avoid being associated with people who are known troublemakers or jobsworths. Even when you’re outside the office or in the pub with co-workers, keep your nose clean.
  • Make your boss look good by staying on top of all the tasks and projects in your department. Prepare for all your meetings, always look presentable and make sure your boss has everything they need when they’re going into a meeting themselves.
  • Try to present a solution for every problem that arises. If you become aware of any particular issues or difficulties, speak to your boss about them and have at least three positive resolutions to bring to the table.

Rasheed Ogunlaru, a leading motivational speaker and professional development coach, believes that actions always speak louder than words.

“You need to walk the walk as well as talking the talk,” he says. “If you are always positive, proactive, precise and make the effort to be a good team player, your boss will notice.

“In meetings, make sure you contribute plenty of ideas but always listen when others are talking. Being supportive of others is a sign that you are ready to take on more responsibility.

“Ultimately you will probably have to communicate directly to your boss that you are keen to progress within the team and the company. Take your lead from others and use your instincts to judge when the time is right for this particular conversation. If you can, set up regular meetings/reviews with your boss as a matter of course. This will be the ideal forum in which to bring the issue up.

“The key is letting them know you’re keen to advance without seeming pushy or presumptuous. Ask for their opinion on ways in which you could develop your skills and experience. Asking for people’s opinions usually flatters them, so it’s a good way of getting them on to your side.”

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