Leadership

Initiative

Read in 7 min. Do the people in your organisation feel free to use their initiative or are they waiting to be told what to do?
Hire Marie M. , a brainy Business Speaker from Oxford, United Kingdom | Expertbase

Marie M.

A Business Speaker from
Oxford, United Kingdom

Marie is available for projects both virtually and in-person.
Comments
55 Claps
913 Words
4.65 K
"Yes, of course. No problem. I'll make sure that gets to you before you leave for your holiday." And, sure enough, the proofs arrived before I left. I knew they would. From the start, the new printing company I'd chosen had shown initiative and excellent customer focus. My kind of company. What a shame that they are so few and far between.

I wonder why people are not taught about using their initiative from the very first day they enter an organisation? Initiative is one of the most important assets for any company. If it is true that the accounts, the bottom line, reflect behaviour, then initiative is one of the most important behaviours any organisation can encourage.

* Do the people in your organisation feel free to use their initiative or are they waiting to be told what to do?

The easiest way to discover the answer to this question is to listen to the language people use in your organisation. Do you hear phrases like: "Of course, no problem. Yes, I'll do that for you. It's a pleasure." Do people take responsibility for getting things done, for owning callers' problems, for making sure the organisation's reputation is kept intact? Do they work to the maxim: "When we say we'll do something, we will"? If so, then the management and staff of your organisation are doing a wonderful job to foster initiative.

However, if people dwell on the past, talk about the "good old days" and focus on why they can't do something, and if the language they use is more like: "I'm sorry, that's not my section, I can't help you, you'll have to phone back", then you can be guaranteed that there is no sense of initiative being engendered. People in this kind of organisation feel powerless, give up easily, take no interest in the strategic intent of the organisation and won't identify with a group/team or their role within it. They will treat their work as "just a job" and behave in that way. They won't care about or take responsibility for making sure things get done or that Customers' concerns are dealt with positively and quickly. It will always be "someone else's problem" and never theirs.


Developing Trust

Trust, or lack of it, is the foundation for all behaviour. Trust underlies the growth and development of every individual, team and organisation. People need a sense of inclusion, belonging, being supported and a feeling of confidence in themselves and the organisation to which they belong. When you develop a trusting environment, people feel positive about themselves and the organisation. They will want it to succeed. They will co-operate and share ideas, use their initiative and move the organisation forward.

Trust is all about consistency of behaviour. Did you ever hear someone saying, "If he said he'll do it, he will" or "If she said she'd be here, she will". What the person is really saying is that they trust the person they're talking about to be consistent in their behaviour. If they say they'll do something or be somewhere, they will. They always keep their word.

Once people develop trust, they create an environment where people will use their initiative. If people don't develop trust, they develop mistrust and dependence. They will always need to be "told what to do", need rules and regulations and never use their own initiative.

"We need to be using the combined brain power of the staff to be able to face up to the turbulence and constraints of today's environment, mobilising every ounce of intelligence." Ernesto Sirolli, Ripples from the Zambezi.

Initiative is a frame of mind, a way of thinking and behaving in the world. People who use their initiative are self-starters. They take on roles outside of their normal work, they are pro-active and anticipate problems in order to prevent them or to prepare for them. They are good at making decisions and following them through. They take responsibility and make things happen. They don't just build pie in the sky' dreams. They are able to develop something through from imagination to reality.

Organisations will only survive if there is a constant flow of ideas, innovative thinking and people using their initiative to implement some of those ideas. When trust and initiative are developed, everyone in the organisation will co-operate to make sure things do get done.


People who have developed initiative

* are clear about what's expected of them
* understand how it adds value to the organisation's intentions
* do what they set out to do
* take on extra responsibilities
* willingly do things outside of what's normally expected of them
* understand that change happens and it needs to be dealt with flexibly.



Making Errors

In an organisation where initiative is encouraged, people won't be afraid to discuss mistakes or errors when they occur. Everyone in the organisation will understand that initiative can only be used if errors are incorporated as part of the learning process. Learning comes from making mistakes and learning from the experience of others. If things go wrong, people need to be encouraged to reflect on what went wrong and to make sure they take the learning forward to get it right the next time.


WOM Marketing

"It should be the top priority of every employee to build, protect and represent your brand to the best of their ability." Joe Calloway, "Becoming a Category of One".

When people connect externally, what are they saying about you? What stories are they telling about the experience of working with your organisation, being a customer or supplier? How's your WOM Marketing (Word of Mouth)? "Word-of-mouth marketing is the easiest and most cost-effective way to increase sales. We are a gossip species. Human beings talk about each other. When we encourage those we know to do it proactively, we dramatically increase the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing." Roy Sheppard, Rapid Results Referrals www.RoySpeaks.com

We can only connect through trust. People trust referrals from other people who've had a good experience with your organisation. Following recent scandals such as Enron, Worldcom and Andersen, most organisations are rightly focusing on a psychological turnaround. They are spending time developing trust with their staff, customers and suppliers. How are you building trust? What are people saying about you? Do you know? Is it contributing positively or negatively to your organisation's success?


If we believe in our product or service, then we need to be encouraging and creating positive stories that will help people to understand what we're about and how we can benefit them.



Conclusion

Organisations will only survive and thrive if there is a constant flow of new ideas and innovative thinking - in other words, if people are using their initiative. One of the most important ways in which any organisation can make a positive impact on its staff, customers and shareholders is to foster a culture of initiative.

Every person's behaviour affects the bottom line. If we set up environments where people foster trust, allow mistakes, support exploration, increase self-esteem and satisfy the need for achievement that every human being possesses, people will be pro-active and use their initiative. They will help to eliminate waste of time, money and resources. They will think of new, effective ways to do what needs to be done, take action to resolve problems and clarify miscommunications and most of all they will be customer focused. You can be sure that their behaviour will affect the bottom line.
This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Marie M. who travels from Oxford, United Kingdom. Marie is available for Professional Speaking Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

Comments
Your thoughts matter - more than you can imagine.

More Articles by Marie
3 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers

More Articles written / submitted by Marie M.
Corporate Culture

Changing Cultures Using The Power Of Story

Stories are not an optional extra in organisations. They are being told and re-told at the water cooler, on the phone and via e-mail - both internally ...
6 min
50
4.86 K
More Articles written / submitted by Marie M.
Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers, Acquisitions And Partnerships

MAPs are like marriage. Many Boards concentrate on the wedding day and forget to work on the on-going relationship. As with a marriage, different people ...
6 min
50
5.17 K
More Articles written / submitted by Marie M.
Success Building

Invisible Assets

Measuring and managing invisible and intangible assets is one of the most powerful sources of sustainable competitive advantage.
10 min
50
5.73 K

More 'Leadership' Articles
15 more Articles that may interest you, too...

Simerjeet S. : Mahatma Gandhi's Leadership Philosophy In The 21st Century
Leadership

Mahatma Gandhi's Leadership Philosophy In The 21st Century

By Simerjeet S.
'You have to be the change that you want to see in the world' Mahatma Gandhi
8 min
113
24.62 K
John R. : The Director As Steward Of The Corporate Soul
Leadership

The Director As Steward Of The Corporate Soul

By John R.
People being asked to serve on boards these days are justifiably concerned with matters of liability, compliance, and takeovers. They can expect to spend much of their time on a variety of real nitty-gritty issues such as compensation, mergers, acquisitions, forecasts, performance, under-writings, legal opinions, and shareholder sentiments.
4 min
50
3.65 K
Albert Einstein (Expertbase) : Beyond Oil: Reappraising The Gulf States
Leadership

Beyond Oil: Reappraising The Gulf States

By Albert Einstein (Expertbase)
PRO+ Profile
(5 Reviews)
Further reform will be essential if one of the world?s fastest-growing regions is to seize a broader role in the global economy
15 min
50
6.27 K
Francis N. : Emotional Intelligence In Leadership
Leadership

Emotional Intelligence In Leadership

By Francis N.
Should leaders lead with emotion? Is there scope in a world that is fast losing its collective consciousness for emotional leadership?
5 min
50
3.75 K
Graham Y. : Leadership - Do You Use Or Abuse Power?
Leadership

Leadership - Do You Use Or Abuse Power?

By Graham Y.
How do you prefer to "control and influence" others?
6 min
452
31.65 K
Ajai S. : Leadership By Persuasion
Leadership

Leadership By Persuasion

By Ajai S.
As a leader, your success depends upon your ability to get things done: up, down and across all lines. Today's organizations are politically complex and fluid, which blurs lines of formal authority. To survive and succeed, you must learn to persuade people: to convince them to take action on your behalf and under your direction, often without formal authority. Even when you do have formal authority, you may be hesitant to use it. Persuasion is widely perceived as a skill reserved for sales and negotiation. Now, it's an essential proficiency for all leaders.
5 min
60
4.2 K
John R. : A Crisis Of Commitment
Leadership

A Crisis Of Commitment

By John R.
Has it become “socially acceptable” that is, we have grown accustomed to people failing to do what they say and we let them off the hook?
8 min
50
1.01 K
Francis N. : The Power Of The Leaders' Leadership Commitment
Leadership

The Power Of The Leaders' Leadership Commitment

By Francis N.
To help Leaders put into effect their duties, responsibility and promises to their people, it is essential that Leaders lead with the following 5 Leadership Characteristics...
2 min
53
4.47 K
John R. : The Biggest Crisis In The World
Leadership

The Biggest Crisis In The World

By John R.
The biggest crisis in the world today may not be what you thought it may be.
5 min
112
927
Mubeena M. : Become A Leader Now
Leadership

Become A Leader Now

By Mubeena M.
Most people associate leadership with position titles, materialism, the number of subordinates and territories one controls, and someone who fits the elderly-grey hair-pot belly with decades-of-experience profile. Today I'm here to dispel this illusory definition.
10 min
50
3.25 K
John R. : Conscious Leadership: Taking Responsibility For Our Better Future
Leadership

Conscious Leadership: Taking Responsibility For Our Better Future

By John R.
Perhaps the time has come to look at the way we lead others in a more relevant-to-reality fashion?
6 min
50
3.64 K
Stuart E. : Management And Business - Hard Skills Or Soft Skills?
Leadership

Management And Business - Hard Skills Or Soft Skills?

By Stuart E.
Most managers will say they know people are important, the question is, do they really believe it themselves?
7 min
50
17.77 K
Kevin K. : Leadership Styles
Leadership

Leadership Styles

By Kevin K.
So what is your leadership style?
3 min
50
3.37 K
David P. : Speak Confidently And Persuasively
Leadership

Speak Confidently And Persuasively

By David P.
Make this year "The Year of You - The speaker!" by following these four strategies
3 min
55
1.26 K
Niladri R. : Improving The Quality Of Decision Making
Leadership

Improving The Quality Of Decision Making

By Niladri R.
The effectiveness of a decision will significantly improve if a decision maker considers 'all variables' impacting the decision.
5 min
63
2.08 K
55
Back to top