TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY
Updated: Mar 19
This one needs a lot of trimming to make it work individually
The other option is: take more responsibility
Yes, TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY.
You may be wondering that I am yet to finish fulfilling my responsibilities why should I take more?
In marketing, sometimes we must teach the consumer about a problem that they have and only then should you offer a solution: your product or service. It's not like the problem didn't exist before, it's more a matter of them not knowing they had it, nor if it was possible to solve. They are, in other words, blind to possibilities.
Every now and then we have bosses in the same situation. They carry on just trying to make things perfect as they are. They may be blind to the fact that you can help them in other matters than just do your job perfectly and hopefully quiet.
What do you do in this case? You teach them by doing it.
Do the things that are not expected for someone of your rank, help your coworkers, be proactive. Do it in the after-hours if necessary. Master your craft at your own expense.
After you start delivering more, your leverage is your extra production, which you’ll send the “bill” for.
Again, I’ve done that.
When I worked for Piling companies, I would torture the operators with questions about how they think about the machine while installing piles. I would have long phone calls with my manager, asking him for detailed explanations about how the piles worked in the ground. I would figure out ways to make the team more effective and communication at the peak. I really wanted and needed to make more money. I was lucky and I did all that instinctively. Lucky me. And even more, lucky you that didn't have to figure that out yourself.
Remember. There will always be some responsibilities you CAN take. That's what you do when you’re being proactive. You may do things like keeping trucks tidy, keeping the gear in order, keep the managers informed, speak to the clients in a professional and respectful manner. Roughly, anything that you can do without causing trouble or extra cost are things that you don't need permission for. As you do the ones above, your superiors will feel confident to let you be more responsible for more things.
And there are other responsibilities that you CANNOT take without a clear permission.
The boss has let me operate the excavators and running job and the labourers. If I tried to do it with no permission I would probably look like a arrogant d*ck Some of the labourers were in the company for longer than me and some were not too happy to see me calling the shots since technically, we’re all still labourers. But that’s how things are, I guess.
Like the saying goes: “don't let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart”. I stayed humble and respected their experience. I knew my intentions were good, and I’ve done the most that I could to keep my relationship with them striving. I kept asking questions and learning from them as much as I could.
Turns out that this is the recipe for becoming a leader. Lucky me again.
And as the saying goes:
“Half of the job is doing it and the other half is talking about it”
(I don’t know if he was talking about infrastructure investments or sex)
To the right people, of course. No one wants to see you bragging. But Make sure your boss recognises your efforts and knows about what you are doing. Especially because if he doesn't approve or see value in it you will have a hard time asking for a pay raise later. I will use my situation back when I was labouring as an example;
- Boss, you hired me as a labourer, but now I know how to operate the machines and run the jobs. I even organize the other labourers. Because of me, the company can run more jobs at the same time, making more money. Would you give me an extra (x) per hour?
If you did well, saying “yes” will be a no-brainer for the employer. It's going to be a matter of how much. But If the answer still remains no, then you can always negotiate a timeframe, like before, when you will get a pay raise that you deserve.
Important note: Consider that the possibility of you not receiving a raise on the spot is real. Make your approach before you get completely burned out by the extra work and don’t get too invested in the result. The last thing you want is to get resentful due to the fact your boss did not recognize what you’re doing. If things don't go as expected, it will be a chance to discuss when you’re going to get the compensation that you think is fair, other than compensation you deserve.
Now considering the worst case scenario: your boss won't pay you more nor sees value in what you’re doing. It means that maybe what you assumed that the company needed is not needed at all. For example:
If I strive to become an operator but the company really didn't have any true demand for one, It’s not reasonable to ask for more. For the same reason you don’t need an extra baby seat for your car if you don't have an extra baby. It also means that you didn't communicate enough with your boss and team members and you didn't possess a clear view of the company.
Or it might mean that your boss may not be such a good businessman. This is a real possibility.
Be ready to leave.
In the very story I was telling before, that my boss at the time actually said no. As bosses do.
I did not stop doing what I was doing and went back to being a “regular” labourer. I knew if I did that it would most definitely lead into the “fire trap”. Instead, I informed him that the current conditions were not making me happy and I didn't want to lower my performance, therefore I was going to look for another job in the field. After a few days of waiting I ended up getting the pay raise.
If you don’t have any leverage in a negotiation, you simply are not negotiating. You are asking or begging.
If you do as this book suggests, you can always respectfully argue that you will have to stop doing the things that you were doing in the first place - It may be tricky to avoid the “trap”. In theory, It wouldn't cause a loss for the company, but a “loss of possible gains”. Even if the boss accepts that, that won't be good for you, since you will land where you started.
Your presence will always be a leverage point. Assuming that your boss still want you on the team (If he doesn't even want you on the team and you have your job just because he has been too busy to find someone else, than you’re pretty far from a pay raise and this book is not the best for you right now), as the example, you can inform him that you may leave. After the proper time is given for considering options (maybe a couple of days) check what are his thoughts are about you leaving or staying at the company. If everything is still a big “no”, then prepare your resume.
What if you’re the boss?. If you are the big, big boss, or the boss of a bunch of people under you. Some managers may fear the day the workers approach them asking for more money and it's completely understandable. Explaining to someone that they don't deserve what they want, or what they want cannot be done and has a great potential of going south. However, now that you have a clearer Idea of how the system works, you may have a better chance explaining to your workers what they need to do to move up in the ranks. Which is: Be more responsible for more things.
For the workers that joined my company I always give them a clear career plan. For the skills that you have now, here is the pay rate: x If you acquire the skills (a, b, c) you will get paid: 2x You may go a different path and learn (d, e, f) and get paid: 3x And so on. I also leave room for them to come up with their own Ideas of what other skills they can learn that can add to the company, this alone gives room for interaction and clearing of any doubts they might have. And, above all, I show them this book. Where they can learn exactly how to proceed to get a raise. You may have noticed that this negotiation is profitable for both ends. The company gets workers that do more and are more responsible, therefore, generating a lot less problems, profiting more, and making the company as a whole look better and get better in terms of funding and profits thus leading to the workers getting more pay.
Now that you’ve got the idea, maybe we should explore how Responsibility works, exactly.
In a nutshell, here's how responsibility works in a Jobsite: The Labourer is responsible for his work.
The Carpenter is responsible for his work, and the Labourer’s work.
The Builder is responsible for his work, and the Carpenter and Labourers The Project Managers are responsible for his work, and for the Builder’s work, Carpenters and labourers work.
The Company Director is responsible for everyone.
Considering that this company is involved in a big development project. Imagine if the Property owner comes by and sees a big mistake that one of the Labourer did. He’s allowed to blame the highest rank and everyone down the chain all the way to the labourer responsible for the job.
As a general rule, humans tend to hate responsibility.
Considering the jobsite example, the Labourer will naturally avoid it. He would rather say “The Carpenter told me to do it”.
Of course the “blame” may get more deluded as it goes up the chain of command. If you were the Property Owner and you deal directly with the Project Manager. You wouldn't blame the Project Manager as if he has literally made the mistake that the labourer did. Though you may hold him accountable for the overall outcome of the mistake. You may be asked questions like “Did you train this labourer?”, “Have you been looking after this job properly?” and, in a more extreme situation they sometimes ask that “why did you hire this labourer?”. To the Company Director you may ask questions like “What systems have you put in place for this not to happen again?”.
If Apple makes an iPhone that overheats, we don't really care who is the engineer that miscalculated whatever part that is now overheating. We just go ahead and blame the highest rank that we can think of. In this case, Steve Jobs gets the blame, since we don’t know who's in charge of Apple. He is dead, but goddammit Steve.
Here is a Diagram of the responsibility pyramid considering the Labourer mistake. The red represents the responsibility.
Now consider that the Builder made a mistake.
He didn't pass over to the carpenter the right instructions or the updated plans.
As you can see, the Labourer and the Carpenter get NO blame at all. The responsibility only goes UP the ranks never down. Keep that in mind.
Considering this example, if the Builder tried to blame the Carpenter for not realising there was a problem in the instructions, he wouldn't look good at all doing that since we all instinctively know and obey the responsibility pyramid scheme. Now, in the same scenario, the Builder CAN meet with the Project Manager and discuss what better way is there than to avoid the mistake from reoccurring, since they are both directly or indirectly responsible.
Note: The responsibility scheme does not work only inside a company structure, it really works in business as a whole.
Freelancers tend to make more money than employed workers.
They are responsible not only for their work, but for invoicing and keeping themselves busy, managing their taxes, etc.
We are living in an era where entrepreneurship is trending. It has become easier and easier to become one (if knowledge and connectivity has become incredibly available). However, the responsibilities of becoming an entrepreneur does not change. You will still be responsible for yourself and your employees and that is something to be considered.