This article comes from Common Sense at Work, an Ivy Exec contributor.
Bosses who truly want to achieve career success delegate as much responsibility and authority to their subordinates as they can handle. Therefore, they have more time and energy to advance toward their career goals by shouldering duties of greater visibility and value to their employer.
Effective subordinates take on as much responsibility and authority as they can carry. This is the way they can grow on the career path to more rewarding jobs.
This dynamic of career rewards is as obvious as the nose on your face. Then, why don’t more people do it?
First off, ambitious careerists rarely want to give up power. Egos get involved. Sharing of responsibility and authority–sharing of power–goes against the grain of what has propelled them forward on their career path. The ambitious manager who really wanted to give up turf is a rare bird indeed. But they do it because they know it is the only way to get ahead.
The Headache Syndrome
Then there’s the headache syndrome, as in “I’ve got a headache, but I don’t have time to take an aspirin.”
It goes like this:
“I am swamped,” the boss declares. “I have to have some help. I’d like to delegate some of my responsibilities, but I can’t find anyone who is ready to take on more work. It would take me longer to find someone willing and capable to do the work than it does to do the job myself. And besides, I can’t be sure the job will be done the right way if I don’t do it myself.”
Down the hallway, subordinates have a different view. “The boss won’t delegate responsibilities.” They are resigned to the situation, so they stop offering to take on more work; their growth is restricted. “Why should I keep trying to help the boss,” they say. “I’ve got a easy thing of it. Let the boss do the work, if that’s what he wants. Just send me my paycheck.”
The Fortress Mentality
These conflicting and self-defeating views result in a fortress mentality where no one wins.
But hold on. This siege creates big opportunities for truly ambitious careerists at all levels of the organizational pyramid.
Career Tip: There are three actions you can take to capitalize on this situation if you are willing to act aggressively with common sense as your guideline.
1. Make sure your boss is aware of your availability and willingness to take on more responsibility.
2. Delegate some of your present responsibilities to others, who can do the job as well as you can, so you make room for higher duties.
3. Work diligently to improve your knowledge and skills to expand your ability to take care of greater responsibilities.
I wish you success!
To get more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, successful entrepreneur, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies. For more info go to free career coaching.