How to Build Work Initiative Outside Your Immediate Department

Every department at the workplace has a unique track record when it comes to work performance. And if you’re reading this, I should presume that you belong to a certain department in the workplace. After all, the topic brought you here, so hopefully my assumption isn’t farfetched. That being said, it is quite easy to build work initiative within your immediate department, be it daily tasks or lengthy projects. But remember…

See also: The Importance of Teamwork from a Cabin Crew Perspective

No Department Is an Island

  • It is the normal course of business to collaborate with other departments in finishing certain projects.
  • Let’s bear in mind the fact that different departments have a unique track record when it comes to work performance.
  • In this case, your department performs better than others within the company.
  • You thus find yourself constantly rubbing shoulders with these departments because they can at times be sluggish, reckless or even negligent with certain projects that are of utmost urgency.

Mind Your Own Business

Of course, if you try to poke your nose into other departments’ business by criticizing their work performance, for example, then you’ll find yourself in very hot soup:


  • Interdepartmental wrangles may ensue and, before you know it, you have way too many enemies to deal with.
  • They might in fact be very efficient at making your department look bad in front of the boss. And we don’t want that now, do we?

A Noble Cause

I get it, you want to effect change in other departments without having to be at loggerheads with any of them:

  • You want them to perform faster, better and more efficient in order to sync with your department’s pace.
  • As we mentioned earlier, direct criticism may not be taken very kindly.
  • Plus, I don’t need to remind you what happens when other departments discover that you’re the snitch that keeps exposing their flaws to the boss. I’m not even sure you would last a month without landing into serious trouble.

So, to cut the story short, how does one build work initiative outside their immediate department?

1. Extend Occasional Favors When the Other Department’s Workload Is Great

The first factor you should carefully consider is gaining goodwill with other departments:

  • Thus, to win the favor of other departments, one ought to be resourceful particularly when it comes to extending a favor once in a while.
  • After all, there will be more effective change through the heart and you’ll stand out for your act of kindness despite the tough competitive environment that is dominant in most workplaces today.
  • Plus, of course, it would be wise for you to gain influence among key individuals within departments which would help steer their department’s performance forward in case a project of most urgency comes up.
  • That way, your direct involvement won’t seem so obvious and you’ll avoid making any unnecessary enemies in the process.

2. Initiate Consistent and Efficient Consultations Amongst Departments

  • Familiarization is key if there is any hope of ever building work initiative across the board.
  • Otherwise, as long as there are loopholes in communication, then there is bound to be a schism that deters a unified sense of work initiative.
  • However, when departments stay in touch with each other, then there is likely to be a consensus in the sense of urgency to finish collaborated projects and tasks.
  • This will reflect in the increased work initiative that will be in tandem with the company’s overall rate of performance.

3. Configure Departmental Priorities to Suit the Best Contenders

The principle of departmental priorities should be simple, really:

  • ’Whoever does not work fast enough EATS LAST.’
  • Therefore, priority should be placed on those tasks that will be accomplished with speed and efficiency.
  • And since different projects require the coordination and efficiency of different departments, it would be wise to point out key departments that perform better than the others.
  • Even from a layman’s perspective, the easiest project should be given priority since it determines the momentum at which other projects will follow suit.
  • In any case, who wants to start collaborating with a department that’s literally a cog in the company machine?
  • Therefore, let the ineffective departments understand that as long as they’re sluggish in accomplishing tasks, then they won’t be given as much priority as their fellow contenders, so to speak.
  • By configuring departmental priorities to suit the best contenders, one is able to kill two birds with one stone.
  • That is, you get to build work initiative within as well as outside your immediate department.

To cap it off, I’ll make it really simple. In as much as you would like to build work initiative outside your immediate department, cut people some slack. Not everyone will change as fast as you want because attitudes differ with every individual. As Maxim Gorky once said, “When work is a pleasure, life is a joy. When work is a duty, life is slavery.”