How To Avoid The Pitfalls of a Not-My-Job Attitude

Updated: May 17, 2019


In every company, there are those vital odd jobs that don’t naturally fall to a specific person.

And as companies change and are pushed to capacity, this becomes worse.


Here are 5 things you can you do to encourage everyone to participate in those necessary but tedious tasks.


1. Make it clear right from the get-go that everyone contributes when it’s needed

This should be part of the initial interview before the job. Explain that the company is a machine that requires everyone to work together. Use examples to strengthen your expectations such as sometimes you, as the executive, might make the coffee in the morning if you’re the first one in, or refill the printer if it’s running out. Be sure to revisit this concept during the performance reviews and staff meetings.


2. Be an example

There’s nothing that can deflate a team effort like seeing a manager or executive bark orders to pick up the slack, yet they don’t do it themselves. The whole attitude will be “if the manager/executive doesn’t have to do it, why should I?” Sometimes the best leaders are those who are willing to get in the trenches with their team. Sharing the workload for the good of the company can send a strong signal to the rest of the crew.


3. Recognize the employees who do pitch in

Before asking somebody to do one of these unique jobs, make it clear that you understand it’s a favor to you and the company. After the task is completed, recognize the efforts of those who assisted. Even a simple thank you can go a long way.


A small reward to recognize the efforts of the people who help out most is a nice show of appreciation. You could give a gift card to the local coffee shop, take them out to lunch, or allow them to leave work early one day that week.



4. Put a positive spin on it, if there truly is one

Sometimes asking a person to perform one of those duties that aren’t clearly designated can be an opportunity for an employee to broaden their horizons. It’s better to ask someone to do something in a way that makes it clear it will give them a new understanding about the business they are in, or be developmental for them in some way. For example: “I’m asking you to do this as we will get some new insight into our customers.”


5. Clarify the difference between a job and a role

A lot of people use these two words interchangeably, but they are two different concepts. The job for every person in the company is to contribute to the success of that company. And each employee and manager has a specific role, based on their skill set. Sometimes people are asked to work outside their role – yet this is still part of their overall job. In other words, if everyone’s job on the team is to win the game, then anything they are asked to do is their job, regardless of how unique their role is.


When you look at it this way, there’s no such thing as “not my job” in any company.



Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders, and has dedicated her career to helping them.


As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner


Contact Information: Feel free to email Dr. Nadine San Francisco Executive Coaching at drnadine@gmail.com or by phone at (415) 861-8383. www.DrNadine.com



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