Owning Your Role

Everyone at their company is assigned an area of responsibility upon starting a job. While the roles and specific responsibilities are often unclear when you begin a role, clarity follows over the course of a few weeks, months, and (in some cases) years. Each employee is a part of a larger team, which needs to cooperation and collaboration of all employees to function at its best. The best way for the larger machine, the company, to operate is for the employees to know and understand their role. But when the machine really gets going is when employees learn to own their role. When they are fully responsible for making decisions, and know the ins and outs of their area – this is when it starts to get good for both the employee and the company.

The word “own” is critical here, and there are two parts that go with it. From a company standpoint, they want employees to have ownership over their area. In this case, it means an ability to influence and have responsibility over the area. Employees also seek ownership, as this means flexibility and autonomy. From the employees’ standpoint, it means a sense of pride and connection to their area to which they are responsible. For example, if someone says, “I own this business,” they will have a sense of pride with that statement. That is the same level of ownership that employees seek every day.

But, ownership is not handed out. It must be earned. For an employee to truly own their area, they must prove that they are acting like an owner. The best way to do this is to ask yourself, “if I were the only one working on this, what would I do and why would I do it?” Using this mindset will allow you to think and act like an owner. You will be someone who understands their area and all aspects of it, as well as someone who cares about its successes and failures.

Owning your role is an excellent way to set yourself apart from your peers. Many employees will simply skate by, doing the bare minimum. Owners stand out by putting in the time and energy to become ingrained in their area. They want to be the expert. They want to be responsible when everything goes wrong. They want the glory when the area sees success. Showing that you care by positioning yourself as an owner will go a long way in your life and career. 

Ultimately, owning your role is a choice. But it is one that will make a huge difference for your career. You will notice the people that own their role – whether their manager asked them to or not – are the ones who are getting recognized. Their actions, on a daily basis, to be owners set them and their areas apart from the rest.