How to Get Ahead: Ask for More….WORK

You read that right. So many times we focus on simplifying tasks or delegating responsibilities.

By doing so, we “get to” do less.

But the leader I heard last week at the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual congress suggested that to get noticed, get ahead and get the foot in the door as a leader, you need to think in terms of “What else can I do? What more can I do?” and ask for the added responsibility.

Don’t wait for someone else to “find you” or come to you.

This woman is now nationally recognized in healthcare, but she shared a story of a point in her career when she was hungry for advancement. Years ago, she was an occupational therapist who had grown to overseeing her team, and eventually the entire rehab services line. Then, an opportunity presented itself when the executive over cardiac and surgical services left. Yes, that’s a huge void. She took the significant step forward of volunteering herself to fill that huge void. She knew she was capable. And she didn’t want the organization to search outside of itself for an individual who couldn’t do a better job than she.

This leader also opted to take on these new roles without a raise – for absolutely no additional pay – even though this also meant an absolutely inordinate amount of additional work.

It was worth it.

She certainly got noticed in a good way.

She stepped up to the challenge, and proved her leadership capabilities.

And within four years, she was the hospital CEO.

Not too shabby for a manager of a small department just a few years prior.

What separated this individual from the natural human tendency is the willingness to commit to a significant amount of additional work without any additional compensation, as well as the confidence to volunteer for a role worlds apart from her prior experience.

That takes guts.

And a lot of hard work.

The opportunity was priceless, in that she was able to prove herself and stand out in a big way.

So the next time you ask yourself, “How can I do less?” change your mentality. Think in terms of “How can I do more?” for the sake of professional development and advancement.  Instead of looking around, wondering why “the man” doesn’t appreciate you, realize you’re missing the point.

It all comes down to YOU. If the door isn’t opening, ask. A little initiative will open doors that might otherwise remain shut.


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