INITIATIVE

Researchers define initiative as “work behavior characterized by its self-starting nature, its proactive approach, and by being persistent in overcoming difficulties that arise in pursuit of a goal.”

When you show initiative, you do things without being told; you find out what you need to know; you keep going when things get tough; and you spot and take advantage of opportunities that others pass by. You act, instead of reacting, at work. Most of us have seen initiative in action. Maybe you’ve seen a young manager who fills her boss’s shoes when she’s sick and the rest of the team is unsure what to do; or perhaps you’ve seen a team member proposing a process improvement plan to the executive board.

Initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Organizations want employees who can think on their feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. After all, this type of flexibility and courage is what pushes teams and organizations to innovate, and to overcome competition.

Initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. You show initiative when you act without being told what to do, persist in the face of inertia and difficulty, and see your idea through to a successful conclusion.

Steps you can take to develop your own initiative.

  • Develop a career plan.
  • Build self-confidence.
  • Spot opportunities and potential improvements.
  • Sense-check your ideas.
  • Develop persistence.
  • Find balance.
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