Part 2: “It’s Not Part of My Job Description” – Malaysians Working Globally

Having worked for a multinational company for the past two and a half years, Rosita feels that she should be given a promotion with an increased salary for her contributions so far. She makes the request to her manager, Martin, during her annual performance review meeting. Martin, who has been steadily adding on to Rosita’s duties to gauge her readiness for more responsibilities, feels that she has been struggling with the added tasks and will need to prove herself both in attitude and ability in order to qualify for a promotion. Meanwhile, Rosita feels unfamiliar with the new duties that are outside of her job description, and would have appreciated more guidance from Martin to effectively carry out her duties. They both agree to work out a plan outlining what support she requires in order for her to comfortably do her new tasks well, and to revisit her request during their next performance review meeting.

A common practice in most organizations is to increase an individual’s responsibilities as part of a grooming process for future positions of leadership. It could be additional duties that we’ve never had before such as public speaking, networking, overseeing a team or perhaps an assignment that is very different from the tasks listed in our job description. When we are asked to step out of our comfort zone, we might at times feel overwhelmed at the scope of work or perhaps like the example above, even feel we lack the guidance to do it right.

Might our strict attachment to our job descriptions (or work that we are very familiar with) inhibit our ability to take on more responsibilities? As the second of a two-part blog series, we will discuss how Malaysians can learn to develop the willingness and readiness for more responsibilities with the objective of personal and professional growth. In our 12 years of training thousands of Malaysians across the country, we have discovered two work values that Malaysians highly esteem. We will see how we can tap into those two work values to show our managers our willingness to take on more responsibilities. They are:

  1. Good pay and benefits. Without a doubt, we value employment that can provide us with good financial security and benefits as that allows us to care and provide well for our family. However, staying within the comforts of our job description, limits what we can achieve financially. Higher pay and privileges often come with the accumulation of knowledge, increase in skillsets and at times the comfortability with some risk taking. To qualify for such benefits, we will need to venture past the comforts of familiarity and take on new roles or functions that will test our knowledge and abilities. While it is impossible to be fully ready for whatever task that comes our way, preparing as best as we can will give us the confidence to pursue new avenues of work and we will then enjoy the financial rewards that come with it.
  2. Chance for development. When asked about what Malaysians want from their employers, one common answer is the opportunity for development especially into leadership roles. It can also include chances to develop our abilities in the areas of speaking, writing, presenting, networking and so forth. Realistically though, such opportunities are usually offered to individuals who are willing to push past the boundaries of their existing knowledge and have the initiative to learn new experiences. So when we take on unfamiliar assignments, help out a co-worker from another department or go the extra mile, we play a part in accelerating our growth and that earmarks us for future developmental opportunities within the organization.

If we develop apprehension or anxiety when we are in unfamiliar territory, remember that we can tap into various resources. For instance, asking more experienced colleagues for guidance, having an honest discussion with our manager for support, getting the right tools, doing online research or even attending training programs. As we develop our confidence in handling matters that extend past our current work scope, we will experience opportunities that can give us personal and financial advantages. We will also be better equipped to work effectively in a global environment and have a hand in stimulating the development of future leaders in Malaysia.

By: Boleh Blogger