How to Take on More Responsibility at Work

Be the hero your boss wants you to be.

How to take on more responsibility at work

If you dedicated all of your time and energy to your office tasks, how long would it take to get done? If you are like many employees, it could probably require the morning. However, because you need to keep yourself busy and you must justify your position and pay, you stretch everything out to a full day. Is this a way to grow your career? It should not have to be, but it is a reality for too many people. And, worst of all, it can hurt the economy’s productivity levels. That is never a good thing.

The $64,000 question is: Do you want to take on more responsibility at work? If so, are you ready for it? And, if you are ready for it, do you think there will be something waiting for you at the end of the day?

As you can tell, there are many variables to consider. Because of that, we have compiled a comprehensive breakdown on requesting additional responsibilities from your boss.

Are You Ready?

You may want to take on additional responsibility at work as you find your current situation unfulfilling and mundane. You might also think that you are stuck on a treadmill without any career development on the horizons. While you may believe you can take on new challenges, it is important to find out if you are ready to take on more responsibility at your job.

So, how can you determine if you are prepared for more responsibility?

1. Succeed at Your Job

How well are you doing at your current occupation? If you are meeting all your deadlines, going above and beyond with all your assignments and receiving high-quality assessments of your position, then perhaps now is the time to seek out greener pastures within the organisation. Your work ethic alone should be enough to meet the corporation’s criteria for uplifting its employees.

2. Have a Good Relationship with Everyone

It is vital to have a good relationship with everyone at the office. Even if you are an introvert and prefer to keep to yourself eight hours a day, remaining cordial, professional and friendly with your colleagues is good for your career. Otherwise, if you are doing more work and potentially climbing the corporate ladder, the bad blood might metastasise into toxicity.

3. Excel at Leadership Opportunities

Since you were hired, you have had a taste of leadership with the random opportunities that have come your way. Each time you were offered the chance to lead a team or a project, you excelled and were given high praise by your superiors and co-workers. It may have been once or a dozen times, but if you did your job – and then some – you proved that you can still thrive with extra work.

4. Desire to be in Charge

While some shudder at the thought of taking charge of an office, other professionals desire this promotion and (hopefully) paycheque raise. How many times have you thought about what it would be like to be a leader at your workplace? How many times have you thought about what changes you would make to the business? This passion and drive may be what is necessary to prove you are ready to take ownership of extra duties.

5. Ask Around at the Office

You do not need to bring a bullhorn and ask everyone what they think of the job you are doing. Instead, you can casually seek input from your colleagues and their perception of your current duties, quantity- and quality-wise. If it is overwhelmingly positive, you have a duty to your career to grab the brass ring. However, if the reaction is somewhere in the middle or negative, then maybe you should wait.

How You Can Attain More Responsibility

So, now you are aware that you are ready to take on the world at your position. The next important step is to determine how to ask your manager or supervisor for extra assignments, additional hours and more work. Essentially, you are searching for anything else that can be thrown your way.

1. Be Interested in Everything

Attention! Since you have the desire to do more work, you should show an interest in everything. Not only should this curiosity be applied to your position, but it should also be applied to anything relevant to the firm. Ask questions, do your research, stay late and talk, inquire about participating in senior meetings – whatever it is, be sure to show a genuine attentiveness.

2. Upgrade Your Skills

One of the best ways to highlight your initiative is to upgrade your skillset. The company could already be willing to throw some additional assignments your way, but you might not have the necessary skills to get the job done. The best thing to do in this case is to poke around and find out what the business is looking for. Once you do, search for courses and enhance your human capital. When the leadership team becomes aware of this, they may decide to help you out too.


3. Adopt a Proactive Approach

You know what? Most of the time, you cannot wait for someone else to give you an opportunity. You need to take it and be proactive in getting what you want. This could start by doing an inventory of tasks that are not getting done and then informing the higher-ups that they are falling through the cracks.

One of two things will happen: They will tell you to do it, or they will shrug (if it is the latter, then it is incompetent management). Either way, your foresight may lead to career success.

4. Engage with Burned Out Employees

By now, you’ve likely come across a plethora of individuals who are stressed out and burned out by their job. A good idea would be to identify these people and approach them about alleviating some of the pile on their desks.

Of course, you should only communicate with those who are in your field. If you are a digital marketing guru, and you speak to a computer engineer about offloading some of the work, this will be detrimental for your career growth. On the other hand, if your colleague has been losing sleep trying to add followers to the company’s social network, then see if you can dedicate a couple of hours a week helping them out.

5. Speak with Your Boss

Finally, perhaps the best strategy is to speak to your boss. Candour is usually the greatest course of action to take and informing the small business owner, senior executive or mid-level manager about your intentions to take on more work would be a wise choice. After some back and forth, the more amiable leaders will acquiesce and look into your inquiry.

Know When to Say ‘No’

Some employers may take advantage of your request for more work; They may pile onto your to-do list and provide you with very little benefit. So, you may be putting in the extra hours for nothing. Essentially, you need to perform a balancing act, so here is when to say ‘no’ to extra work.

1. Offer No Advancement

Ultimately, the reason why you are asking for or accepting more work is to either advance within the company or pad your CV when you start applying to other companies. But if the company is not giving you the full scope of what will happen at the end of the road, then there is not much of a point to finishing a flood of other assignments.

2. Fail to Add to Your Growth

When you are asking for more work, you typically mean anything that can add to your professional development and career growth. If the extra tasks you are getting involve changing the printer cartridges or organising the filing cabinet, you are not really advancing anywhere. You need to ensure that you are contributing to your human capital by doing things that will impress future employers.

3. Detract from Your Primary Duties

In the end, anything else you are doing should not detract you from your primary responsibilities. If you are doing other work, but there is a dereliction in your main duties, then you might need to reconsider this path. The very minimum needs to get done before moving on to extra duties you are asking for as well.


There you have it. Everything you want to know about asking for more work at the office, but you were too afraid to, well, ask. You must determine that you are ready and equipped to take on greater responsibilities and work at the company.

It is also important to implement a more diplomatic and professional approach to submitting a request. And, lastly, it would be prudent to find out if there is a pot of gold at the end of the road for you – or a lump of coal.


Have you ever asked for more responsibilities at work? Did it help advance your career? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!