Initiative

Initiative

  • Youlead|  
  • May 25, 2021

Do you like to do things beyond what is expected of you? Do you like to go out of the way to do things that will have a large impact or smoothen the road for someone? Are you always thinking of new ways to make things easy at the office? Do you require little to no supervision from others? If this sounds like you, you take initiative.

What is initiative?

Initiative is a valuable skill in today’s world. We have to take the initiative, or do something without being prompted, if we want to show our worth and also to get ahead at office. It requires you to use your judgement to independently evaluate a situation and understand if you need to take some action and then to do it without being told to do so.

How to take initiative

The key to initiative is self-management. You should be able to think for yourself and do things that can benefit others. It also requires you to be observant and analytical. Many people see the same things that you do, and yet, they may not act in the same way that you would. If there is a malfunctioning instrument in the office, not everyone will fix it although everyone needs it. They will wait for someone to deal with the issue. You might see the problem, realize a quick solution is needed, call a repairing company, set up a time with them to come see the equipment, follow up with them, and make sure it is fixed. Or, you might even fix it yourself if you have the knowhow and tools. That is initiative. That is being observant about the problem, analysing the situation, and then taking initiative. This is a valuable skill because it helps not just yourself but others.

Let’s say your team has an important deadline coming up but no one knows what their duties are and everyone is waiting for someone to take the lead. Your manager may be unable to get to it because of her own duties or because she is out at a client site. Or she may be unaware of a moved up deadline. Any number of reasons can create a situation where team members are waiting for guidance on something that is crucial. It is then up to you to step up to the plate. You can see what would be the best course of action and delegate tasks to get everyone started. Once begun, the task becomes much easier to handle.

It is easy to let things be but what is better is to do something that will fix the problem. But fixing it is important. Of course, taking initiative has other benefits. Top management may view you favourably once they realize you take initiative, which may result in faster promotions and more responsibilities.

Elements of taking initiative

  • Taking initiative is not hard. All you need to do is stay observant and analytical. Spot any opportunities where you need to do something that another person may not be aware of or is unable to work on.
  • Then, analyse the situation and see how best you can address it.
  • Take action. This is the most important component of taking initiative. Merely understanding something needs to be done is of no use. You must do something about it.
  • Make a plan of what you will do, especially if it is a large project or improvement. This will help you know what exactly you have to do to achieve a solution and the costs involved.
  • Re-analyse and evaluate your solution from all angles before you take it to your manager, just to make sure there are no gaping holes or inconsistencies. This will also help you manage costs. No manager will get on board with a costly solution if he or she cannot see the benefit of it, so it would be best for you to thoroughly understand and present the cost vs benefit. This will help your manager make an informed choice.

Taking initiative is an essential part of our lives. If we are willing to let things slide, nothing will get done and eventually conditions will be unbearable. To ensure that the working conditions are conducive, it is important for us to keep things running smoothly.

 

 

This content is the sole responsibility of its creators. Any opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government, European Union or Swiss agency for Development and Cooperation.

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