What is Initiative?
It is the ability to think for yourself and to find solutions without being told what to do. It takes determination and resilience. Initiative people are able to think for themselves and take responsibility when needed. This means being able to think for yourself and having the drive to succeed.
Initiative is a skill in self-management. Self-management is one the five key skills for successful professionals. You can do things without being asked and solve problems others might not have seen. If necessary, you do additional research, ask questions and seek out help when needed. Being an initiative person means helping others. Employers will be impressed by your willingness to go the extra mile to help others.
What is the importance of Initiative?
Your ability to use your initiative makes it attractive for job opportunities and jobs. You are showing that you can think for yourselves and that you are willing to learn and grow in your position. You will be able to stay ahead of your competition and keep up-to-date with the latest developments in your field. As they come up with innovative and useful ideas, people who demonstrate initiative are more likely to win promotions and awards.
How to develop your initiative
Good news! You can learn to take initiative. These steps will help you do it.
1. Create a career plan
Research* shows that people with a long-term career path are more likely take initiative. People who have a long-term career plan and know their goals are more likely to take initiative in the workplace, especially if it will benefit them.
2. Build self-confidence
To be bold and courageous, it takes courage, a strong sense for self, and the fear of people disagreeing with you.
3. Spot Opportunities and Potential Improvements
People who take initiative often spot opportunities and act on them that are not being noticed by their leaders or colleagues. They are curious about the organisation and its workings and open to new ideas.
Questions we can ask are: What makes our work slower or more difficult? What are the most common things we fail to accomplish? What are the bottlenecks? What frustrates and is irritating our team members? Look for opportunities.
4. Check Your Ideas for Sense
Imagine you have a new way to help customers. Do your research before you go to your boss and pitch your idea. Consider the risks and costs associated with your idea. If the risks and consequences of the project going wrong are minimal, you might consider going ahead with the idea without consulting your managers. However, how far you go depends on your relationship. If there are greater risks and costs, you might consider creating a business case before proceeding.
You have already taken initiative and come up with a solution. You must ensure that you do your research on the idea. Your chances of success are higher if you do your research and consider your ideas.
5. Develop Rational Persistence
Persistence is the ability to keep moving forward, despite inertia and difficulty. People who take initiative face difficulties and setbacks. Therefore, resilience and rational persistence are crucial if you want success.
If you are persistent with your idea, it will be easier to learn how to effectively manage change. This can often mean the difference between success or failure in a project. You should also learn to open up to others, as people might already have opinions on a topic before you present your idea.
6. Find Balance
It’s important that you take initiative but also to be smart about how you use it. Sometimes, taking initiative can be unwise. People who create too much work for others can cause problems. Be careful not to create bigger issues with your proactive attitude.
For Example: You might have known a colleague who was enthusiastic about every idea. Your boss and the team were constantly pushed by him to take the next project on or implement a new idea. Some of his ideas were not well-researched, and his insistence on taking initiative sometimes crossed the line into aggressiveness. Perhaps he felt like he was “rocking the boat” at a time where other members were already overloaded.
It is important to master decision-making skills. These skills will improve your ability to realise when an idea is worth your time and which is not. You can build a reputation for being both proactive and good at judging situations. This is a great combination!
Your emotional intelligence skills will also be important. Knowing how to read emotions is a valuable skill. This ability to sense emotions can help you decide when to take control and when to let it all be.
The Key Points
In today’s world, initiative is becoming more important. When you take initiative, even if you are not told what to do, persevere in the face of difficulty and see your idea through to its completion, it is a sign that you have taken initiative.
In review here are the six steps again to help you develop your own initiative.
- Plan your career.
- Develop self-confidence
- Look for opportunities
- Check your sense-checking skills.
- Be persistent.
For more information on showing initiative or for a training session tailored to suit your team organisation needs contact our training team. We are here to help improve team performance and show employees how to show initiative.