Monday, June 21, 2010

Is Initiative Worth the Effort?

Initiative is defined as taking the first step, originating new ideas, and having the ability to think and act on your own. Think of it as going above and beyond what is expected of you.

Initiative can be a very subjective concept, but in the workplace, showing initiative is typically viewed as a positive attribute. Even so, there are times when it can go unnoticed. This can be particularly true when the result of your extra effort isn’t tangible or can’t be measured as a time or money saver.

Don’t shy away from taking initiative in your career, but do take the time to consider whether your initiative will be worth your effort in the long run. Start by assessing the current work environment. Ask yourself a few important questions before you get started:

  • What are the organization’s goals for the year?

  • What problems need solving?

  • Where can your skills and knowledge achieve the greatest impact?

  • How will your efforts be perceived and valued throughout the organization?

Next, consider sharing the idea with your manager. Taking initiative and investing time on tasks that may not matter to your manager might be perceived as an error in judgment and could backfire on you.

There is no question that, most times, taking the initiative can serve you well. Be sure to evaluate your idea carefully and frame it in terms of the positive impact it will have on others. That way, you can comfortably and enthusiastically take the initiative by moving your idea forward.

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