“Take ownership of your work.” You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before. Perhaps it was kindly said in a meeting or thrown around in a screaming match at the office. Either way, you might not have been told exactly how to do it.

To take ownership of your work is to step up to the plate, take control of the task at hand, and take full responsibility for the triumphs and failures. It allows you to lead your projects, fully learn from your mistakes, and manage your own career growth.

It’s the difference between having to do a task and wanting to do a task. So how should you do that?

If you don’t lead a team, this is how to empower yourself

Foster your passion

If you want to take ownership of your work, don’t do work you don’t care about. Being passionate about the work you’re doing is one big step towards owning it. It’s not always easy and it’s something we all struggle with.

But you can start fostering the growth of that passion by picking the projects and tasks you truly enjoy doing or are interested in exploring and asking to work on them. Let your manager know that you need to work on the projects you genuinely care about.

Be accountable

Screenshot from Zahran's More than a Job videoA big part of taking ownership of your work is owning the responsibility of your work. You have to be accountable for your actions and everything else that happens in your project. If things go badly, it’s on you. And if things go splendidly, you get the credit!

Speak up and be a part of the conversation

Make sure to voice your opinion in the workplace, especially when it comes to your own work. If you own the project, stand up for your decisions and defend your viewpoints. Communicate the right information to the right stakeholders and engage with them, but remember that you have the final say. You own the project, you make the decisions.

Moreover, talk to your manager about your vision for each project, as well as your career goals, so they can be well aware of what you need to achieve and align your work with it.

Define your own success

What is success, for you? It’s a very important question to answer. To truly own your career development, you need to understand what success means to you so you can work on instilling those values in your projects.

Pick up a pen and paper and map out your career goals. From there, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of what you want your success to look like. Define it, document it, and then implement it.

If you do lead a team, this is how to empower them

Invite criticism

Good managers invite feedback, positive and negative. Great managers take it in consideration and learn from individuals in their team. It’s a great way to let your team know that their opinions matter and that they have a say in the work they do.

This is how KarmSolar’s founder and CEO Ahmed Zahran manages his team.

So make sure you let them communicate their input when it comes to anything that impacts their work. Embrace it. Even automate it; look for a tool or method for everyone to leave their ideas and feedback. It will allow them to be comfortable with the role of the decision-maker and it will encourage them to make bolder statements and step up to claim more responsibility.

Motivate and inspire

Make sure you communicate clearly what you expect of each of your team members, delegate important projects and tasks to them based on their passions and skills, and then motivate them to do their absolute best.

Inspire them to work on their weaknesses and magnify their strengths, and push them towards achieving their career goals. In addition, make sure you always recognize and appreciate the work that they do. When they succeed, recognize that, and tell them to keep up the good work.

Let them be themselves

Make sure you encourage your team to be themselves at work; that’s when their best work comes out. Build a relationship based on openness and mutual trust and respect. Give them the space to talk about what they want to work on and how they feel about the work that they do.

When they feel like they can be their authentic selves in the office, they’ll be much more inclined to own their work and do their best.Click To Tweet

Encourage individuality in your team. When they feel like they can be their authentic selves in the office, they’ll be much more inclined to own their work and do their best.

Lead the way but don’t take over

Identify what skills and practices your team members need to improve and show them how. This doesn’t mean you do their work for them; it means you teach them and then let them be. Here, it’s important to understand the difference between leadership and micromanagement.

Leaders show the path, micromanagers walk the path.Click To Tweet

Leaders show the path, micromanagers walk the path. Micromanagement kills ownership; it doesn’t allow individual members to feel like they’re capable of performing the task on their own. Give them the help and guidance they need but don’t be scared to let them fail. Let them sink, and then swim.

Taking ownership of your work is a big part of growing your career and shaping the work life you want, the way you want it. So start owning it.

Have you had a hard time convincing your manager to let you own your work? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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