Frances regularly offers her help to managers and co-workers, but no one seems to take her up on the offer. “No one will give me a chance to show them what I can do,” she says. “Should I just not offer to help?”
Colleagues may hesitate to share work if they’re not confident in your abilities. Crafty ways to show others that you’re more than capable:
1. Couch the offer as a way to help you grow. Say, “I’d really like a chance to gain some experience with XYZ. Would you consider allowing me to contribute to this project?” One admin, Susan, asked her supervisor for help in gaining experience writing or editing a press release. He was happy to help her since one of the legislative assistants was a weak writer.
“So I got to rewrite some of that legislative assistant’s work. It allowed me to learn more about those legislative issues and gave me some better experience to put on my résumé,” she says.
2. Take on the task no one else wants. For example, offer to train/manage the interns. Then knock it out of the park.
3. Reference what the other person could gain from the bargain. Say, “I’d like to take that task off your hands to give you more time to prepare for your meetings.”
4. Uncover a new task that no one knows needs doing. If you have time, look for ways to improve current processes.
As one admin says, “When I realized that asking wasn’t getting me anywhere, I looked for opportunities. I would find a process that needed improving, propose my solutions to my boss, and complete the project.” Before she knew it, that admin had built a reputation as a problem-solver.
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