10+ Ways to Take Initiative in the Workplace

take initiative, how to take initiative at work

10+ Ways to Take Initiative in the Workplace

In the workplace, taking initiative is crucial for success. It involves thinking proactively about tasks, going the extra mile, and taking on work before someone asks you to. It involves noticing opportunities and taking action. Radical ownership, as seen at BetterUp, means being fully responsible for your work and welcoming the opportunity to learn from it and improve when it doesn’t go well.

Employees who take responsibility and pride in their work benefit their team and career goals. They may experience more job satisfaction and benefit from being a proactive team member. To excel at taking initiative, one must be a proactive team member with certain characteristics.

What It Means to Take Initiative?

Taking initiative in the workplace involves proactively thinking about tasks, going the extra mile, and taking on work before someone asks for it. It’s a form of “ownership” where you are fully responsible for your work and welcome the opportunity to learn from it. Factors that align with taking initiative include managing yourself, considering others, and aligning with organizational goals. This involves understanding your capabilities and limitations, balancing your interests with those of your colleagues and the broader organization, and ensuring that you don’t take on more than you can handle.

Benefits of Taking Initiative in the Workplace

Taking initiative in the workplace has several benefits:

  • Becoming More Valuable and Relevant: Taking initiative means thinking proactively about tasks and not just to check them off a list, but to get them done well. It’s about going the extra mile on the basic tasks you’re assigned, thinking through complications, and taking on work before someone asks you to. This can make you stand out from the rest of the competition and position yourself for growth.
  • Building Confidence: Taking initiative can build confidence in your professional life and personal life. It can also boost happiness and job satisfaction for you and your workplace.
  • Improving Chances for Promotions and Career Growth: Taking initiative can improve your chances for promotions and career growth. It shows that you’re eager to take on more responsibilities and are willing to step up when needed. 
  • Strengthening Relationships with Team Members: Taking initiative can strengthen your relationship with your team members. It shows that you’re a reliable, collaborative, and giving coworker who leads by example. 
  • Helping with Problem-Solving: If something isn’t working and you have ideas about how to fix it, taking initiative can help your team. You don’t have to “know” for certain or always be right. Offer your ideas and be open to others building on and adapting your ideas. 
  • Creating Better Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: Taking initiative can create better critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It encourages you to think independently and come up with solutions.
  • Being Proactive: Being proactive means not waiting for work to come to you, but asking yourself: what should I do next? It involves being creative, coming up with ideas, researching, and working towards solutions independently.

How to Take Initiative at Work

Here are ten examples of things you can do at work:

Being willing to help even if no one asks

By volunteering to assist a coworker or boss without being asked, you show that you are ready to help the company meet its objectives. That you want to help your coworkers with their work so they don’t have to struggle with it also comes across.

People who offer to help even when no one asks for it tend to have important and healthy relationships with everyone at work. Because of this, you might want to take some time away from your present work to help your peers. They might also be able to help you in the future if you have trouble with certain jobs.

Dealing with small issues before they get big

Professionals who take care of small problems before they get big also show effort at work. They know it’s important to deal with problems as they come up, before they get worse. In addition, they know that problems that aren’t dealt with can hurt an organization. When you see a problem that needs to be fixed but no one else seems to be doing it, you should. At first, it might not seem like a big deal, but if you don’t take care of it, it can lead to bigger problems.

Doing something that other people have not done

Professionals who are proactive are also not afraid to do things that other people try to avoid. These are projects that other workers have tried to finish but failed at, or projects that are hard to finish. If you want to show initiative at work, find the jobs that no one wants to do because they are too hard or take too long, and ask your boss to give them to you. Also, this is a great way to show that you’re a hard worker who can work well with others, which can make you a desirable employee for future job possibilities.

Asking about what a job can do

Managers and supervisors like it when employees are always asking what their tasks and responsibilities are. It shows that they want the job and are ready to do more to reach the goals that everyone wants. If you want to show initiative at work, ask what your job includes and what the company expects of you as an employee.

Helping and giving career tips to coworkers

Another great way to show effort at work is to help your less experienced coworkers with their careers. This includes making sure they have a smooth start at the company. Providing free advice to new employees is also a good way to create a welcoming and caring workplace where everyone can grow and achieve. It also makes you a senior worker that your coworkers can turn to when they’re having trouble with their jobs.

Looking for ways to move up in their job

Employees who are proactive and use their own initiative don’t stay in the same job for years if it doesn’t offer many chances to grow professionally. Instead, they actively look for ways to move up in their careers by applying for raises. They are always making connections with industry leaders, coworkers, and people from other departments in order to build important relationships that will help them advance in their careers. If you want to get promoted, you should start learning new things and getting better at the ones you already have right away. This makes you a better choice for the job and also helps you get better at what you do.

Setting business goals for yourself

Accepting new ideas and concepts is important if you want to grow as a person and as a worker. In order to do this, you need to face challenges and learn about other countries and people. It’s good to push yourself to do things you’re afraid of, but don’t set goals that are too hard to reach. Instead, just let yourself learn something new every day and keep an open mind. How can you push yourself as a professional? Here are some ideas:

Make a new plan.

Take a class in an area that interests you, find a guide, and get involved with a cause that matters to you. Get to know your coworkers on a professional level.

Getting comments from coworkers

You can learn about yourself from someone else’s point of view by asking your coworkers for feedback. You can learn about your skills, weaknesses, and areas where you need to improve in order to get better at what you do. In addition, it helps you grow as a person and as a worker. When you ask for feedback, make sure you’re ready to hear it and willing to take responsibility for your actions. It’s not always easy to hear negative feedback from coworkers, but if you take it as helpful feedback, it can be very important for your career and personal growth.

Finding places to improve

Professionals who are proactive take the time to think about their jobs and figure out what they could do better. This lets them take steps to get better, which raises their chances of being successful in their job. So, think about the parts of your professional life that could use some work and find ways to make them better. If you want to learn something new, you can take an online class, go back to school, or finish an online class.

Sharing what you know

Sharing your information and skills with your coworkers is another way to show that you are proactive at work. This demonstrates to your boss that you are eager to assist others in getting better at their jobs, which is advantageous for the company as a whole. Sharing important information with team members is another way to make sure that everyone working on a project knows what they’re doing, which can help the project succeed. Sharing your knowledge and skills also encourages people to work together, which is good for building business relationships.


However, it’s important to choose your time wisely when taking initiative. Make sure you understand your core job, and you’re doing it well, before taking initiative too far afield. It’s never a good idea to take on more than you can handle if you aren’t pretty sure you can deliver


What is a soft skill for taking initiative?

A soft skill for taking initiative can be described as self-motivation or self-direction. This skill is often associated with the ability to identify what needs to be done first, offer help to others, and start working towards solutions independently. It also involves being proactive and not waiting for work or opportunities to come to you

Is taking initiative a competency?

Yes, taking initiative is indeed considered a competency. It is a valuable skill that employers look for in their employees. This skill shows that you are motivated, confident, and resourceful. It demonstrates that you can think independently, generate ideas, and take action without waiting for instructions or approval. It also indicates that you are willing to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, and adapt to changing situations

why is initiative important in the workplace

Initiative in the workplace fosters innovation, adaptability, self-confidence, team collaboration, and proactive leadership. It enables employees to identify areas for improvement, contribute to non-mechanized tasks, boost self-confidence, and foster better problem-solving and team dynamics.


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