Look Beyond Your Job Objective
February 2, 2020
“Can you please help me with this presentation”
“We need a volunteer to run this project on a stretch mode. Would you please lead it. I know its not connected with the job in any way but we need your guidance”
“I know the deadline for this project is in one week, but I have some personal work that I cannot push- Can you please complete this on your own”
“We are short of one executive, can you please help fill in for the missing person and complete these 4 activities”
There have been multiple instances in my career where I have been called on to do someone else’s work or do some work for someone else
In the early stages of my career , while I never said No , I did have big reservations. Am I the only dummy around that people are coming and loading with work? Needless to say, when I took on any activity not connected with my own Job objective, it became a stretch. My days at work got longer, my workload got bigger and sometimes even threatened to derail my own work objectives.
Slowly as I advanced through life and built my career, I realized that being the go to guy for any odd job or stretch assignment, is a great place to be in. I started welcoming it- I liked the feeling of being valued and it helped my self esteem. Trading off my free time for the goodwill coming with the work I did, seemed like a small price to pay.
Yes, in some situations there was no goodwill- Some people thought it was my job to do something even though it clearly was not. But even here, by taking on the job, I felt I had the upper hand as the other person could not blame me for something not happening.
With the benefit of 25+ years of career, I can now say with certainty that doing stuff for others irrespective of whether its a part of your JO or not, is actually a superpower, if you are looking to advance in career and life.
- People around you start trusting you for the value you have to offer
- You are seen as an enabler and not a blocker(yes, there are both kinds at work!!)
- You learn new stuff and gain experience in areas that you would otherwise not got in your core job.
- You become a creator of positive culture. The people around draw on your example and support each other.
- You create a network of positive relationships. People may move on to different organisations, but they will remember you. If your paths happen to cross again, they are there for you, looking out for you and paying back when you are not expecting it.
Adam Grant has written an amazing book titled “Give and Take” where he describes 3 types of people that operate in work settings. The Takers, The Matchers and The Givers.
A Taker is someone whose puts his/her own self- interest ahead of others. They look to maximize from the people and environment around.
Matchers, on the other hand maintain a balanced style of reciprocity-I’ll help you because you can help me back.
Givers are the generous kind. They help with no strings attached. Their motivation is to add value and contribute in some meaningful way.
In many of my coaching conversations , I often hear this common refrain
- Its not my job. Why should I do it.
- I am already loaded, I don’t have the bandwidth to do stuff for others.
My feedback is, do it anyways, even if it stretches or burdens you. Be a Giver. When you work to a higher standard, you become the benchmark. You become a leader.