Imagine you’re at your desk, about to make some cold calls or respond to emails, and a request appears in your inbox. It’s a bit outside your usual scope, and you may be tempted to let the other person know that’s not your job. You might be swamped and unable to help them, or you may not feel you have the authority to make decisions beyond your role.

Whatever the case may be, adopting a not-my-job mindset can be a slippery slope. It can make you appear inflexible and uncommitted, and people might question your willingness to go the extra mile. Plus, companies thrive on adaptability. If everyone only does what’s in their job descriptions, things can grind to a halt.

That’s why Shari Harley, the founder and president of Candid Culture, says you should always avoid saying, “That’s not my job.” In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share Harley’s guidance for steering clear of that’s-not-my-job syndrome.

Don’t make excuses. Even if someone asks you to do something that’s not your job, don’t point it out. Harley says you should never say the words, “That’s above (or below) my pay grade” or “That’s not my job.”

Ask for guidance. If you regularly get asked to do things that aren’t technically in your job description, ask your boss how you should handle these requests. According to Harley, this is a subtle way to say you don’t have the latitude to solve certain problems.

Alert others to potential issues. If you see something about to go awry, say something. Harley says she has seen many smart professionals shrug off impending train wrecks. Don’t be that person, she says. Look out for your company and co-workers.

Be a problem-solver. Talk to your boss if you notice a broken process or see a way to improve something. However, if you bring up an issue, don’t just leave it on their lap and walk away. Offer to take a stab at fixing it, Harley says.

Do the right thing. Go out of your way to do what’s right, even if it feels out of your comfort zone. It might be easier to email an angry client, but if you know a phone call is best, pick up the phone. If you can’t solve the problem, Harley recommends finding someone who can. There are many ways to make an impact, she says.

Brainstorm a bit. Instead of immediately saying something isn’t your job, get curious. Ask, “Why do we do this this way?” and “Have we considered … ?”

The next time you’re asked about something that’s not necessarily in your job description, keep an open mind. It’s not always the best choice to stay in your lane. When you step outside your traditional role, you show your commitment to helping your co-workers and clients achieve their objectives, which can ultimately strengthen relationships and drive growth.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Shari Harley is the founder and president of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm. She’s also an author and keynote speaker.