As We Move Forward: Above and Beyond


When you are asked to do something for someone else, ask yourself how you tend to respond. Several responses could include ignoring the request. This might be easier to do in certain relationships such as those involving family, friends or acquaintances. The more serious consequences of this type of response would include disappointing people. Continuing to behave this way will almost certainly lead to major tension in these relationships and may ultimately result in some of these relationships being terminated.

Another possible response involves doing just as much as necessary in each instance. An example of this might be a student who figures out what the minimum response is required in each situation and does only that. This could include attending class but participating only when specifically called on and then giving only the minimally acceptable response. This could include doing required assignments, but only to the extent of meeting the basic requirements in each situation.

An employee performing at this level might do all the things specifically required in the job description without ever volunteering for anything extra or contributing and extra effort or energy to any aspect of the job. This behavior is certainly more acceptable from an employee than refusing to comply with requests would be. It seems a large number of employees perform at this level. Employers appreciate people who perform at the acceptable level. The consequences to performing at this level could include lack of opportunities for advancement and little in the way of recognition beyond a basic appreciation for doing the job for which someone was hired.

Another response could be described as going above and beyond. In personal and informal relationships, this behavior would start with a real desire to know the needs and desires of someone else and to constantly think of ways to do things to make someone’s life better and happier. The person behaving in this way is someone sought after and valued as a friend.

In school, this is the person who not only volunteers in class, but who does extra reading and study and who seeks to make the educational experience the best it can be for everyone.

The employee who goes above and beyond is always thinking of how things can be better for follow workers and everyone involved in the organization. This person tends to receive recognition and responsibility for their actions which make things better overall.


As we move forward, it is helpful to look at how we respond to requests from others. If we sometimes tend to not comply or are only doing the minimal, it might be helpful to ask what in that relationship makes us want to make that response. Why do we go above and beyond when we do? Why do others go above and beyond? Are there things that could make over and above our normal response? The consequences of that discover could make our lives and the lives of others better and happier.

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