Initiative is very different from excelling in performance reviews or being overly confident. It is the ability to identify a need, champion a solution and above all, go the extra mile in order to benefit the company, without being asked to do so. There is no magic skill required; it is simply the ability to see the bigger picture during your workday and identify how you can make your own life and your company’s life much easier.
Initiative is when you are able to think on your toes without the continued need for reassurance from a manager. It is essentially seeing that something needs to be done and offering to do it without having to be asked, even if it is beyond your workplace requirements.
Many work environments prefer an employee who approaches their workload with initiative – rather than being spoon fed and waiting to be told what to do. Some companies hire candidates for their strong levels of independence, ability to work alone and above all, their ability to use their initiative in the day-to-day workplace environment.
Initiative is a highly sought after quality and many job advertisements state ‘initiative’ as a candidate prerequisite. Demonstrating initiative in the workplace will lead to career progression and development, as you will be perceived as a person who can independently take on a number of responsibilities without the need to be continuously asked by your employer.
Listed below are some examples of how to use your initiative in the workplace:
- Fixing a broken machine (photocopier/fax machine/scanner or other machine)
- Devising a system (e.g. on Excel or another software program) that enables you to work faster and more efficiently
- Delegating work and taking control
- Voicing your opinion on specific matters and following up on it by devising a plan
- Implementing ideas for the successful operation of the department