How to Take Ownership of Your Job

Businesswoman displaying excitement for an outcome

Every job you do, from the simplest of management tasks to leading and guiding the most complex of projects, is a direct reflection on you as a professional. In a world where your economic security is a function of your skills, knowledge, and reputation, it is essential for you to take ownership of your work and ensure that it reflects positively on you as a professional. 

Cultivate Passion for Your Work: 

One way to firmly establish your reputation with your team members and co-workers is to display a genuine passion for your work.

As humans, we take our cues from others, often mimicking their emotions and attitudes. If you have ever worked around or for someone who is enthusiastic about their job you know that their passion is infectious. No job is too small or too difficult, and time spent working with those who are genuinely enthusiastic seems to fly by at amazing speeds. 

Contrast this very positive experience with the alternative of working for someone who is somewhat ambivalent or negative about their work. Work takes on the tone of drudgery and time slows to a crawl with these sour or less than fully engaged individuals.

There is little doubt who most of us prefer to work for, and there is little doubt that you are much better off being known as someone enthusiastic and committed to their work. Showcase your energy and enthusiasm at every opportunity!

Owning Your Role as a Manager:

While we often compare and contrast leadership and management as two different roles, they are part and parcel of the same position.

For purposes of this post, I am describing opportunities to showcase your ownership with their distinct activities. 

  • Recognize that the work of management is noble. As a manager, you have a unique opportunity to create value for your firm, your team, and for yourself by pursuing your activities with the passion described above and by exhibiting the commitment necessary to moving your organization closer to achieving key objectives. As a manager, you engage team members, colleagues and customers, and you are engaged in a great many process activities. Here are a number of ideas to showcase your enthusiasm and ownership of your role as a manager:
  • Run efficient, purposeful meetings. Learn to lead with an agenda; focus on the task at hand and ensure that all ideas are heard and considered in a respectful manner. Be efficient with time usage. Strive to start on time and end early. Avoid managing these events by constantly giving life to new meetings. 
  • Ensure clarity of your team's and organization's objectives. People do their best work when they have context for how their efforts fit into the bigger picture. Make certain to reinforce key goals and highlight results on a regular basis. 
  • View process problems as opportunities to improve. Much of our daily work revolves around ensuring follow-thru on key processes. Great managers look and listen for opportunities to simplify complex or inefficient processes and improve quality and service delivery. Your team members will appreciate your efforts for continuous improvement. 
  • Focus on delivering remarkable experiences to your customers. It does not matter whether you are serving customers in the marketplace or internal customers in another department, strive to deliver remarkable service at every opportunity. Your reputation for creating these "Wow" experiences will serve you and your team well. 

    Great managers focus on results and strive to create great experiences for employees, co-workers and customers. They simplify complex tasks, ensure that the right measures are in place to gauge progress and ensure accountability, and they recognize their ability to teach others how to do the same. Carry this type of an attitude through your daily work as a manager and your reputation for owning your job will grow at every encounter. 

    Owning Your Role as a Leader:

    There are few activities in your professional life where you have a greater opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, than serving in the role of a leader. The role of a leader by definition is focused on guiding others safely and securely to a particular destination. During the journey, you have an opportunity to teach, support the learning and development of your team members and help individuals navigate the challenges of life and career. Here are some great opportunities to show that you own your role as a leader:

    • Embrace your role. Ask and answer: "At the end of our time working together, what will my team members say that I did for them?" Strive to define a mission statement for your role and share your mission widely. Great leaders constantly remind themselves of their purpose and strive to align their daily activities with this purpose. 
    • Succeed one encounter at a time. Instead of looking for the magic formula for success as a leader, recognize that every day offers a series of great opportunities to make a positive impact on those around you. Focus on succeeding at each of these opportunities. Remember that exhibiting respect for others, even in challenging circumstances, is your admission ticket to leading effectively. 
    • Teach. Great leaders teach. The role is less about telling and much more about supporting the development of key skills and practices. From helping your team members improve as decision-makers to identifying and supporting emerging leaders on your team, you are in a unique position to serve as an educator. 
    • Stand for something. Great leaders are values-driven. They identify with, share and live and lead by core values, whether they are the firm's or their own. 

    The Bottom-Line:

    You spend a tremendous amount of the time of your life at work. You have the choice to invest yourself physically, mentally and spiritually in your daily activities, or, to approach it transactionally. The win in terms of satisfaction, enjoyment, and success goes to those who make the conscious decision to own their jobs. 

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