Handling New Responsibilities

Taking on new responsibilities seems to be built into the multi-skilled workplace, and handling those responsibilities can be a challenge. Sometimes they're entirely new jobs in themselves. These things can be handled, but you have to create the methodologies.

The common tough case scenario is literally getting more work out of nowhere. You may not ever have had to do anything like it before. This may or may not be required to be part of your current job, or a new add-on with a life of its own.

There's only one way to deal with this situation: Get it under control, fast. This involves using time to get a good grip on the work, but you can also set up your own management system for getting it under control, and perhaps more importantly, keeping it under control.

Managing your new responsibilities involves:

  • Training: Learn the job, even if you have to teach yourself, but make certain you know how to operate everything the way it's supposed to be done.
  • Creating a workflow model: All jobs have a workflow which has to fit in to the business model. Create your workflow so you have some elbow room and can be sure of not being hit with backlogs. Try to improve on the required output. That leaves you space for your other work, and time to deal with problems. Use schedules to control workflow.
  • Time management: In conjunction with your schedule, manage workloads on an adjustable time frame. The new work can conflict with your other work, so make sure that doesn't happen.
  • Productivity control: You can control the job with your schedules and time management, but you can also improve matters by increasing turnover of work when you can. If you can achieve a clean desk, do it.

Responsibilities is more than just a word

The new responsibilities run up and down the line. The best and safest way to handle your new responsibilities is to make sure you can realistically deal with them in the system.

Responsibilities to management

Don't leave your manager guessing about what's happening at your end. Most managers don't like people delegating upwards, but they prefer to be in the loop with any issues and problems.

There are some rules to this relationship, and they're all common sense:

  • Do not ever try to handle anything unfamiliar without consulting management.
  • Inform management promptly of any problems. They do need to know.
  • If you're not sure about something, ask management for help.

Responsibilities downward

You're the receiver for work coming up the line. You're also a filter for the problems you can handle. The rules are all about you doing your own new job properly, and they're not negotiable:

  • Make sure the people underneath you are properly trained and informed.
  • If you can fix any problems, fix them, and advise the people concerned.
  • Explain everything about the new job clearly to those who need to know.

Handling new responsibilities is part of your career. Treat every new job like that, and you'll do well.