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Not in your job description? These things are still part of the job


Work in Progress

October 26 · Issue #55 · View online
The newsletter about work

These things may not be part of your job description, but they’re still part of the job. Here’s how to step up.
Clear up confusion
You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and the more people there are making stuff, the sooner things can get chaotic. 
If you sense confusion about what the team is doing or how they’re doing it, then it’s your job to at the very least, bring it up. Regardless of your role. And if you can, please, clear up the confusion. Don’t presume your boss is aware of the situation; odds are they have no idea. 
And countless precious hours can be spared by simply letting the people you work with know you’re starting a new task. That’s the cue for others to report that it’s already been resolved, or that crucial new information is available.
Clarify things for those dependent on you
Your work is only finished once you’ve told people about it. How often do you hear Oh yeah, that document’s been in Dropbox since Monday. What a colossal waste of time. Passing the baton is part of the job
The same is true of raising your hand when you get stuck, when you need additional resources, and when you’re waiting on a response:
Let. People. Know.
Look. No one wants to be annoying. That can make starters in particular too cautious about speaking up, and it’s something we’re all guilty of at times. Most of us could stand to open our mouths more and communicate better. (Here’s another issue on communicating at work.)
Share what you see. Constructively
What strikes you as obvious can go unnoticed by others. That’s not true for everything, of course. But you do have a unique perspective and it only benefits the group when you share it.
Here are my 4 filters for sharing:
  • Filter 1: Note what strikes you. If what you notice is at all interesting, write it down. This is not a strict filter. Don’t censor yourself at this stage.
  • Filter 2: Verify with someone else. For things that occur to you more than once, call on a second set of eyes. Preferably someone at your level. Is what I’m seeing right? Am I missing anything? 
  • Filter 3: Share with your supervisor, including suggestions. Make a habit of not only raising issues, but offering solutions (or at least ideas about where solutions may be found).
  • Filter 4: Take on the issue yourself, if you can have an impact. Listen to your manager’s feedback. It can tell you how urgent your issue is. And tackling issues that are both urgent and important is the best way to make an impact. 
Again, don’t underestimate your observations and your insight. Your ideas won’t be spot on and useful every time, but there’s often one that’s invaluable. Using a list of filters helps make sure you don’t miss it. 
Have a good week! 

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