How to Ask Your Boss for More Responsibilities vs. More To-Do Lists

As an executive assistant, you are always at the ready for your boss when they need something done. You have exceptional attention to detail and always know what is going on around the office. Your boss trusts you with their every move, so why is it that you keep ending up with basic tasks? If you feel that you are ready to take on a little more responsibility but aren’t quite sure where to start, don’t worry. We are here to help. In this article, we will discuss how to convince your boss to give you more of a challenge in the workplace.


Learn Everything That You Can

The best way to find opportunities within a workplace is simply to pay attention. While it can be tempting to focus on your basic tasks and let the hours slip by, if you want a challenge, you need to learn what you can. Active learning in the workplace is an invaluable skill. The goal here is to learn as much as you can no matter where you end up. This will help you to keep a pulse on the work that is available so that you can make a more specific request.


Take Detailed Notes

Notes are a lifesaver when it comes to proving your value and competency in the workplace. Executives juggle a lot in a day, which means they generally only focus on high-level knowledge. Though this suits their role, sometimes they need more detail than they have. When you take detailed notes, you can bridge the gap between their knowledge base and the available information. Being able to bring up an important detail or answer a question that your boss doesn’t know the answer to can really show them how aware and committed you are. It makes you an easier selection when opportunities arise.


Go Above and Beyond With Assigned Tasks

Before you can ask for more responsibility, you need to be perfect at what you do. As boring as some of your boss’s to-do list items might be, you must give them your all. Otherwise, your boss will have no reason to believe that you are ready for a bigger challenge. No matter how simple a task is, make sure to go above and beyond. It shows an eagerness to perform and a commitment to success that will endorse the idea that you are ready for more.


Look For Project Opportunities

Executive leaders often oversee a wide range of people and projects. This means that they have a lot to consider and cannot always see some of the smaller struggles around the office. As their assistant, you are often privy to the same areas and projects, but you also have the ability to look more closely. Use this as a way to determine what is going on and what efforts might make a project run more smoothly.


Looking for opportunities is not simply about recognizing what needs to be done. It is about looking for active innovation within current practices. When you recognize these opportunities, keep a log of them. You will be able to use this to present the ideas clearly to your executive leader. Who will be able to step up to help with these important changes? Well, certainly the person who had a keen eye and was able to find the opportunities in the first place. Even if your boss doesn’t hand you these opportunities directly, they might allow you to take on the important role of finding other innovations across departments and partnering with key partners for new efforts, which can open the door for more opportunities.


Heat Map Employee Efforts

Every team has its core workers who are known to take on every task that comes their way. These exceptional team members are smart, capable, and driven, but they tend to have a bad habit of taking on too much. Though they might rise to the challenge, the fact is that they can often use a little help. Heat mapping employee projects and efforts can help you to find areas where employees are being swamped. When you know where this is happening, you can ask your boss for a chance to offer your assistance. It will show that you have a great pulse on the workplace, know your teams, and will grant you the ability to learn new important tasks around the office. It also shows leadership instincts.


Select An Area of Interest

When preparing to ask your boss for more responsibility, it can be helpful to know what you want to work on. As you work alongside your boss, pick out certain areas of interest that you would like to focus on. It will make it easier for you to make a more specific request for your boss. More importantly, it will help you to be able to explain your request and why you think it will benefit you in the long run.


Go Prepared

The real trick to asking your boss for more responsibility is to go in prepared. Think of this request as a pitch. You should know what you want to do, what you hope to gain, and why you think that you are ready for this step. Lean on the knowledge that you have gained from these other steps and make your boss an offer that they simply cannot refuse. They will appreciate the time and effort that you have put into advancing your career and growing your skills.



There is no better position to be in than that of an executive assistant when it comes to finding work opportunities. As long as you have put in the effort to show your boss that you are ready to rise to new challenges, it should be a fairly easy ask. When you prepare your request, remember to keep it detailed, but high-level. You don’t want to bombard your boss with too much information. Instead, focus on making a clear request that highlights why this transition will be beneficial for you, your boss, and the company. Instead of telling your boss that you want more challenging work, show them that you are ready for more.