4 tools to tackle tedious tasks
“Having to fetch coffee, go and grab lunch and straighten the break room makes me feel less than professional in my admin role,” said 23-year old Julie following an admin program I presented. “What should I do?”
Flashing back to the endless personal errands and cups of coffee I refreshed for board members at Julie’s age, I paused before answering. Turns out many admins no longer see these tasks as their role and become resentful when a request comes their way. So, what to do?
1. Adapt: Any job that needs to get done for the benefit of the business is your job, so get over it. This may sound harsh, yet the bottom line needs to stay top of mind. When you consider what someone is getting paid per hour to produce results, any task taking them away from their work reduces productivity. Whoever is receiving the lowest per hour fee, is therefore the fiscally wisest individual to accomplish certain jobs, no matter how unrewarding.
2. Adjust: Change your perspective. Business is built on relationships. The more genuine connections you develop, the further you can advance your career. Rather than feeling less than professional, use these moments to build knowledge and friendship. Yes, even knowing how someone prefers their coffee provides insight. Pretend these individuals are in your home and act like the hostess with the mostest instead. At a minimum, think about research labeled “Helper’s High,” which shows that when we give of service to another, it makes us happier. Adjust your thinking, and reap and rewards.
3. Ask: Address the situation with your colleagues and supervisors. Perhaps you’re not the only one in the office who could be tapped for the tasks. If so, let your supervisor know how you feel. “Bill, although I’ve been scanning the documents consistently for the engineering team, is it possible, moving forward, to rotate this task amongst the admin team so I can focus more on getting higher level deliverables accomplished?” Or, “June, although I’ve been getting your coffee daily for the past year, doing so makes me uncomfortable, and I’d prefer tackling higher level tasks moving forward. Are you open to this request?” Some individuals may see these tasks as your job unless you ask otherwise.
4. Avoid: If you simply can’t get over feeling unprofessional when asked to perform certain duties, and especially if you find yourself becoming resentful, what’s next? The way to avoid these situations going forward is to grow and go to the next level. Dig deep and start gaining skills and building relationships to move you toward a higher-level position. And when you get there, think twice before asking another to perform a task you found uncomfortable. Then again, you may just come to realize it makes both cents and sense.