In his book, "Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything," John Izzo, Ph.D., puts the emphasis back on the individual to change their own life, and especially their career.
Have you ever thought, "This job would be so much better if my boss would do ABC," or "If the marketing team would actually help me, I would be able to sell more XYZ"? No matter what the thought, Izzo says that we should ditch the helpless attitude and resolve to do something about it.
According to Izzo's research, many people wait for the perfect plan to materialize before taking action, and the "sit and wait" method is one of our greatest roadblocks to success. Here are ways you can take control of your career destiny:
Create your ideal solution. Change often comes from one idea. If you have ideas about how your job could be better, whether by improving a work process or creating efficiencies and reducing costs, share them with your boss. Your ability to show initiative and creativity will only benefit you long-term, because you'll be noticed as an employee who goes above and beyond. If your boss gives you the green light to spearhead a new initiative, rely on her for support and guidance. Ask for input on how to mark milestones or what a realistic deadline for the project would be.
Be open to changes, improvements and feedback. When you take on a more active role by asking questions and suggesting change, be prepared for some potential negativity. Some people like the status quo, and they may be afraid you'll either put them out of a job or require them to take on more work. To encourage more collaboration, ask for input or see what ideas others have to improve or possibly alter your original idea. The odds of universal satisfaction may be slim, but being open to group discussion will show you're working toward the greater good.
It's possible that as you work to improve one process or series of tasks, you may stumble upon more problems. When this happens, determine what workarounds are possible. Be willing to table those insurmountable issues, but alert the project manager about these so the success of the larger project isn't delayed.
Remember the alternative. Often when you initiate a change at work or in your personal life, you did it because you were tired of the present conditions and you want to improve your life or the life of others. Times will get tough, and there will be points where you hit so many walls that you want to give up, but you have to remember the past and think about the alternative.
In his book, Izzo says that leadership is not a position. It's up to an individual to choose to take the reins of a project or task and run with it. Izzo gives these three tips for stepping up:
1. State your intention and write it down. Once it's written, it's a commitment for change.
2. Go above your position and weight. Go bigger and try harder than your role commands of you, and know that as you strive to be better, the money will follow.
3. Remember your influence no matter your role. You may not think that you can change anything in your current role, but remember that your voice does count for something. Sometimes all it takes is one person to ignite change.