How to Handle More Responsibility

A guide to handling greater levels of responsibility as you progress in your career

As you progress through your career you will naturally be given greater levels of responsibility. Your workload may begin to feel heavier and more varied than it did when you held more junior, graduate positions. There are certain tasks that you may be required to undertake that you are not familiar with. Examples of these new responsibilities may include:

Leading a project

As you are no longer at the bottom of the ladder, you may find yourself being given the opportunity to lead and oversee projects, which may include delegating tasks to fellow team members. Instructing others can feel rather strange when you’re used to being the newbie - but don’t be intimidated by this new responsibility. The key to successful leadership is keeping your desired outcomes at the forefront of your mind. This will help you to clearly communicate your aims to your team, therefore allowing them to fully understand their roles within the project. Remember to give plenty of feedback throughout the process - both praise and constructive criticism are helpful in order to resolve any minor issues along the way. Effective leadership will encourage productivity and increase the chances of the project’s success.

It may also be helpful to put some extra effort into getting to know your colleagues a little better. When taking on a leadership role, it is vital to know who you’re working with, as this allows you to take people’s strengths and weaknesses into consideration when delegating tasks. Your team is also far more likely to be receptive to you if they feel as though you have taken the time to understand them and assign them a role that they can excel in.

Working on multiple projects

As your levels of experience increase, you can expect your manager’s trust in you to also increase. As a result, you are likely to be given a greater number of tasks and projects. It can be assumed that you’ll want to complete all the tasks to a high standard, but with strict deadlines to meet, this is not always easy - so planning is key! Prioritise the most important tasks and plan your workload around them. This requires strict organisation and discipline but it will pay off in the long run. There is nothing worse than repeatedly starting jobs without finishing them, as you’re unlikely to feel as though you are progressing.

Sit down at the beginning of each week and plan your tasks for the week. Divide them into manageable chunks that can be prioritised. It may also be a good idea to review your plan each day to check that you’re staying on task. There are a number of good applications for this, we use Trello!

It is also a good idea to organise regular check-ins with your manager - once a week is often a good place to start. This will allow them to keep track of what you’re currently working on, whilst also giving them the opportunity to provide feedback. When it comes to balancing a number of projects at one time, it is crucial to know your limits. Most of us love to please our managers and portray a ‘can do’ attitude. However, if you take on too much you run the risk of becoming stressed and unable to complete your tasks properly. This doesn’t benefit you or your manager, so be sure to be vocal and let someone know if you’re in need of help.

When carrying out a task or project, follow the three steps: plan, prioritise and focus. This will help you to complete the task to a high standard, whilst also maintaining efficiency.

Leading a meeting

As a result of being given a greater level of responsibility, you may be expected to lead team meetings and give presentations. This can take some getting used to, especially if you’re not familiar with presenting or speaking in front of groups of people. However, if you trust yourself and the knowledge you have acquired, others will be willing to listen to you and will often be keen to learn from you.

When leading a team meeting, it is down to you to guide the direction of discussion. As a result, it is important to plan key points of discussion and make a note of anything that needs to be addressed urgently prior to the meeting. Think about how long you would like to spend discussing each item on the agenda in order to make sure that you don’t run out of time. It is also important to create an open environment in which others feel comfortable contributing. Meetings tend to be far more productive if everyone is engaged and feels as though they are able to participate in the discussion. Whilst it is important to stay on track, you should also allow some leeway for creativity and spontaneous discussion, as you can never be sure of the direction a meeting will take. It is also helpful to either appoint a scribe or take some time after the meeting to write up key points and things to remember.

If in doubt...Ask for help!

A new role with more responsibility can be incredibly overwhelming and will most definitely take some getting used to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from your manager or colleagues if you’re feeling a little out of your depth - remember that everyone has been in the same position at some point during their career!

How to Navigate a Career Change→