10 Tips on How to Take Initiative at Work
Whether you’re aiming to excel in the line of work you’re in or you want a promotion or even a simple raise, you should know that not one of these things happens on its own.
You need to take initiative and in order to do that, you need to know how it’s done.
That’s why we’ve prepared 10 great tips on how to do it and make the working atmosphere enjoyable.
When you actively partake in the script of your life instead of being a passive bystander, good things start happening. Sure, taking responsibility for your ups and downs is more difficult than being a fatalist, but it’s more fun and rewarding as well.
That’s why you’re bid to dive right in the 10 ways to take initiative at work and proving your value and worth to both your boss and your coworkers…
1. PRACTICE THINKING A FEW MOVES AHEAD
It is important to always think about your next move if you want to be seen as a worker who is willing to take initiative.
Always try to be more creative and avoid being a drop in the sea. You should provide original ideas and creative solutions. The easiest way to do that is to be ahead of the curve.
You can be ahead of the curve by preparing yourself and research on the topic that will be discussed at work, you should ponder about possible problems that might arise during the discussion or the later stages of the project, and provide creative solutions with a “thinking outside the box” approach to creative thinking.
Remember that to think a few moves ahead is achieved simply by being prepared through thorough research and you will present yourself as a worker who is always prepared and is not afraid to take initiative whether in times of hardships or times of “smooth sailing”, per se.
2. AVOID LOOKING SELFISH AND SELF-CENTERED, BE A TEAM MEMBER
There is a thin line between being a person with leadership qualities, and being a bossy person who likes going solo.
If you wish to take initiative at work, be ready to show that you are doing it for the sake of the team, and the company.
The successful completion of any project, no matter whether your team or another has seen it to completion, is a new jewel on the crown for the company. If you try to do everything yourself, it might be a tough pill to swallow.
The sooner you shift your state of mind to being an essential team member, it will be easier for you to show initiative, and it will send a clear message to your bosses that they have a capable worker who is an amazing team player.
Always look at the bigger picture. No matter how exceptional you are, you are still – just like anyone else, a part of the bigger picture. So, act like one. Don’t be a solo player, in a world of team players, and team-oriented culture. Team building is a great place to start.
If you care about your job, that’s great, but make sure that you share your passion with other team members and associates.
Don’t forget passion is contagious. Immerse yourself in something that is beyond you, ahead of your world, and grow together with others.
This doesn’t mean that you should easily share original ideas with others, especially if they are not team-oriented, but it means that you should have a specific concept in the workplace. You should be people-driven for extraordinary results. Be a team member.
If you are serious and dedicated to taking the initiative at work, then you should do one thing always – think about yourself as a team member.
Each success, each development, and each achievement of the organization is yours as well, although it may sound funny at first.
In a world where unity is much needed, personal prosperity comes as a necessity.
So, as soon as you create the mindset of an achiever, think about how you can help others also.
Furthermore, see how you can help someone to grow and how someone else can help you grow and achieve your goals.
If nothing, the initiative is about being well-aware about others and their strength and weaknesses. So, be a step ahead by knowing your teammates.
Knowing each detail and strong dedication will create a ground that will enable profound outcomes.
3. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR OPINION AND THOUGHTS
It is as simple as that. If you have an idea, say it. Even if it seems it might not be of help, it might prove to be a stepping stone to another idea that might become useful for the project in later stages.
Many people are afraid of publicly putting their ideas and thoughts in the open, but it is really useful due to the image you present of yourself to the other people in the office.
You show them that you are thinking about the project and the ways to make it better in any way, in addition to the fact that you spoke up, meaning that you are not afraid to, you guessed it, take initiative in upgrading the projects and making them work better.
It might be a problem for you to speak up, but the first time is always difficult.
Even if nobody hears you, or if your suggestion gets put aside, that sheer experience and the fact that you spoke up, that is something that you should go for in the beginning.
If you continue providing good suggestions frequently, you will definitely be noticed more and more by both your colleagues and your employers.
You have a brilliant idea? The worst thing that you could do is to have an amazing, solution-oriented, and action-driven idea and to do nothing about it. If you have a brilliant idea, feel free to share it and speak about it.
Do you know what the biggest place is full of dreams and unaccomplished ideas? A graveyard. Who knows just how many wonderful ideas people had during their life, and decided not to share them with anyone.
As a result, great ideas die together with them. So, share your brilliant idea always! Even if it’s not that brilliant at first! Don’t be scared! The worst thing that could happen is to be told that your idea is not relevant at this moment. You will go through it.
Many believe that everything is discovered, that there is anything new to discuss in the world. However, that attitude is so far from the truth. People constantly reinvent themselves and their actions.
Naturally, people always look for new solutions in work, especially if you are into production line jobs, or managing people. or even looking best solutions for other businesses. Fresh and powerful concepts are always in demand.
If your idea is supported by proper research and hard facts, no one could ignore your idea. An idea with detailed research and true facts is a great chance to bring your idea into realization in the near future.
4. SHOW THAT YOU HAVE SELF-CONFIDENCE
Self-confidence is an important trait to have, a characteristic that a great number of successful people shares.
There are a couple of ways to boost your self-confidence, one being to just fake it until it becomes your second nature to act confident. It is an interesting take, but also a risky one.
Another safer and more reliable way is to self-reflect. Analyze yourself, put on paper your strengths and flaws.
Then give your utmost best to snuff out those flaws and to bring your strengths to the surface.
Finally, work on your strengths and develop them further, in addition to adding more skills that will be your strength to your arsenal.
Focus on developing the strengths that can bring you closer to your goals.
Also, have in mind that your non-verbal communication is also a reflection of your confidence.
Have in mind where your hands are when you are talking, what is the color and sound of your voice, whether your back is hunched or not, and similar things.
5. GET TO KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES
Even though not essential, it is really useful to get to know your colleagues and team members, actually. The bonds that you will form with your colleagues are what makes this entry important.
This entry is especially important if you have problems with the entries mentioned throughout the text.
For example, if you have problems talking in public and sharing your various opinions, getting to know your team members will make it extremely easier to get over the shyness or fear of talking in public.
You will not see your colleagues as blank and unfamiliar faces, quite the contrary, you will see them as people you know, as friends or acquaintances, which will make you more relaxed when either talking in public or helping them complete certain tasks.
The formed bonds will act as a two-way street; there might be some situations in which you will need their support and help, which will definitely come in handy in the future.
6. ALWAYS BE THERE TO LEND A HELPING HAND WHEN NEEDED
This one is important for multiple reasons.
You take initiative in helping others complete tasks if they have trouble completing them, thus making you develop some leadership skills, which might be useful in the future.
The other reason is that you are further strengthening bonds that you have made with your colleagues.
The most important thing is to not impose yourself and offer help when not needed. It is of high importance to learn to see when someone needs your help and when you have to let a particular colleague work the solution on their own.
So remember, if you wish to help a colleague, the advantages are that you will build a better work atmosphere in the office, and you will show the upper management that you have qualities of a leader.
Remember also that you should not play that support to your colleagues as a success of your own and use them as a stepping stone to achieving a higher position in your company because that will only deteriorate the atmosphere in your office and make you look more like a selfish boss and not a leader.
Taking initiative in helping your colleagues is important, as long as you have the right motives in your heart.
7. OFFER TO BE A MENTOR TO THE NEW TEAM MEMBERS
The newly appointed members of a team are often neglected and are not shown the ropes accordingly.
No matter how long have you been in the company, offering your mentorship and supervision to the new team members can be a good move to both yourself and to the upper management.
There are a lot of things that you can teach the new team members, but there are also a lot of ways of thinking those new and fresh team members can teach you, as well.
Taking a mentorship role can also make you look compassionate and develop coaching and management skills that will surely become useful in the future, and, in addition, you develop your network of friends and colleagues further by helping the new team members.
In addition to that, the upper management will see that you have offered to be a mentor to the new team members and admire your tenacity and initiative, which can only be beneficial to you in the company.
8. DO EXTRA WORK
There are a few advantages to this approach.
One of the biggest advantages is that you will show commitment to certain projects and that no matter how small or big a project might seem, you will always go the extra mile.
Doing the designated amount of work will not make you stand out in the eyes of your employees, as there are sure to be a great number of employees who will do that.
Strive for greatness and show yourself as an exceptional worker who knows his strengths and weaknesses.
Having said that, the golden rule that everyone should follow is to find areas of the project or tasks that have been given to you that suit your knowledge the best, the areas where you can easily improve using your knowledge and the ones who are visible enough for your employers to notice the extra work you have provided.
You should think about what can be visibly improved and act accordingly, the last thing you should do is to do the extra work, no matter what.
Find the area that your employers will see and the areas where your knowledge can be applied.
There is no such area?
Then research a bit, maybe there is something that can be added.
By doing extra work you will definitely get praise from your bosses, and show them that you can easily tackle any projects and tasks that they throw your way.
Being a go-getter and taking the initiative requires more than what’s usually done.
You need to stand out. People who want more are those who are willing to put extra in their job. If your work requires you only to delegate tasks, you still must do more to stand out.
In that case, you need to learn to be a better leader, to deliver faster, to lead a team better, to know exactly to whom to give particular tasks, and to be a true role model.
On the other hand, if you are the one who needs to meet the manager’s requirements, you need to be exceptional.
You must use your best skills and place them in the service of work. If you want more than you must do more. Being exceptional is acting exceptional. Do something extra all the time.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should work 24/7. Doing extra means that you know how to do specific things better and faster. Your boss will love the results.
Moreover, no one in the world is interested in how you came to the solution, as long as you provide the results.
Take that knowledge into your advantage. Do you know how to make an excel sheet? Make one and share it with the others. You know Spanish perfectly? Research the Spanish speaking market and study how they came to a solution in your area?
Do you know how to make a great team-building atmosphere? Great! Use that as your secret power and get the team together for pizza or salads and have a legendary bonding time.
9. ASK QUESTIONS
When you are interested in a specific topic, you ask questions about it, right?
When you are buying a bouquet to your mom, and your mom is allergic to lilies, you will double-check with the seller to be sure that there are no lilies, right?
Moreover, if you are just stepping into the world of Marvel’s movies based on comic books, and you know Spiderman, but you don’t know who the Venom is, you will ask questions to learn more, no?
The same philosophy applies to the business world.
When you ask about your job, your job responsibilities, about the company, about specific procedures, operations, and processes, people will notice you.
They will see you as someone who cares about the job, as someone who is passionate about career, and someone who really cares about the company, and that’s all because you care. You must show the initiative.
For this purpose, try to observe the world around you, your business space, people around you, see what’s going on around and try to pick as many things as possible. Analyze every situation.
This close look will give birth to new ideas and different ways to contribute to the growth of your sector or your organization more and more.
10. THINK LIKE AN OWNER OF A COMPANY
Putting yourself in someone else shoes is a great way to see the world through someone else’s perspective. This enables a different angle of life, and it’s a great way to develop empathy.
In such a busy everyday life, it can be challenging to stop for a second and think how the other person feels, moreover thinks. Employees tend to see the world from only their point of your, and their job as well.
However, the biggest difference between an employee and an employer is not about status.
No, it’s about passion, dedication, vision, and persistence. Once the working day is over, the employee will go home.
On the other hand, an employer has no working hours. Employers are always on the clock, always checking emails, and always thinking about their business, its growth, and will they make it easier to deliver promised salaries on time.
That is what employers tend to miss – and if you are serious about taking the initiative at work, this should be your strong point. So, use it in your advance.
Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Imagine yourself as the owner of a company.
This can inspire you for great action and even boost your hunger for taking the initiative.
Think about this: a business owner is responsible for the failure of the company, or its massive success.
This mindset is what makes an owner a business owner, a willingness to take responsibility and to be accountable. So, think about the mindset. Ask yourself questions such as:
- How can you take the company to the next level?
- What are the company’s bottlenecks?
- How to inspire people to take ownership of their actions?
A business owner always thinks about the big picture and based on that, they create specific actions. Thinking about the bigger picture, owners develop unique systems to make processes easier.
Those processes are usually delegating, automating tasks, and even outsourcing specific activities. Interestingly, they also work passionately on setting goals.
Taking massive responsibility for their actions and keeping track of their actions, good and bad decisions. So, think about it.
Think of how you can be your boss. Once you master the skill of transferring yourself into someone else’s shoes than find a specific problem and work on it. Having a problem will provide you a goal – finding the solution.
So, as soon as you deal with particular challenges, and you have all written down and backed up with data, go to your boss. This will show enormous initiative. Remember, bosses, love action-oriented people.
They want to hear about a solution, not problems. They already know what the issues are.
Since the problems are there, they had no idea how to solve them, so if you could do it, that would be perfect.
This way, you will show a great initiative and that you are a real problem-solver, and everybody loves people who can solve problems.