How to Take Initiative at Work | Tips for Success

By TERRA Staffing Group

Posted on July 12, 2022

Employee raising hand at work meeting

Taking initiative is a great way to show your employer that you are ready for more and want to move your career forward.

It means finding ways to showcase your skills and knowledge of the business and really demonstrating to your employer the value you bring to an organization.

In a nutshell, it’s turning your ambition into action.

Doing this will not only positively impact your career, it can also make the work you do more fulfilling!

But what does taking initiative look like?

We’ve put together some actionable steps you can take in order to help you get started.

Top strategies to show initiative. 

  1. Understand the business. 
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Find opportunities to improve processes.
  4. Ask for more responsibilities. 
  5. Volunteer to help. 
  6. Be proactive. 

Below you will find more information on why these strategies are effective and how they can help you further your career.

Six ways you can take initiative in any job.

Understand the business.

Learning what your company does and how it functions will help you better understand how you can contribute to its success.

Pay close attention to the processes that your team uses to do their jobs. Know the goals your team is working toward. Look at the way your coworkers operate and be mindful of how quickly they get things done.

This will provide a lot of information about the inner workings of the business. And it’s a great first step toward taking initiative. 

When you have a well-rounded view of your workplace, you also have a stronger sense of purpose. That can push you to find ways to perform better with the company’s best interest in mind.  And it will help you become successful, too. 

Ask questions.

Show your boss that you are invested in the business and want to grow by asking questions.

A great place to start is asking your boss for feedback, especially if you don’t meet regularly. You’ll get a better understanding of their expectations and it can give you clarity on how to do your job well. 

Observational questions are also great. They indicate that you are paying attention to what is going on around you.

What are you seeing that you are curious about? What you would love to know more about that relates to your job, specifically?

Not only will your sense of curiosity demonstrate some initiative, your boss will notice that you are doing the groundwork to set yourself up for success. 

Find opportunities to improve processes.

Employers are always interested in ways to improve efficiency and increase productivity.

Look at the processes that you and your team follow. Can anything be done faster? Is there a routine your team follows that could be more effective?

Then ask yourself whether your ideas are realistic and easy to implement. If so, that means your suggestions have the potential to make a big impact!

Be mindful of your approach when sharing your ideas, however. Don’t speak negatively about the current process. Be clear that your intention is to level something up and take it from good to better. 

And mention that you’re willing to spearhead the project/initiative. 

Doing this will illustrate your eagerness to help the company and the value you can bring to the business.   

Ask for more responsibilities.

Another way to express initiative at work is to ask your boss for more responsibilities, more training, more ways you can help. 

If you don’t ask, you could end up waiting and hoping for an opportunity to eventually come your way. So don’t be afraid to go after what you want and make things happen. 

Talk to your boss about what you’re interested in. Nudge them in the direction you’d like to grow. Or you can simply ask for what you’d like to do, if you have something specific in mind. 

They’ll take note of your motivation to contribute further. 

The more you know how to do, the more indispensable you are to your boss and your team.

Volunteer to help.

Show that you are a team player by offering to help without needing to be asked. That’s a key ingredient in taking initiative.

Because it means that you aren’t just thinking about your own success. You care about the success of your team. 

If there is anything that you can do to help the business reach its goals, jump in and do it!

Take on a task that you know is avoided, for example. Offer to train new employees. Check in with your coworkers to see if you can make their day more manageable.

Any amount of help leads to a winning moment—for the company, for your team and for your career. 

Be proactive.

Thinking ahead and anticipating needs is a great way to show initiative at work. It’s an incredible skill that will have major benefits for you and for your team.

Why is being proactive such a desirable trait?

It means that you know how to prioritize and manage your workload. It demonstrates excellent time management, and it showcases your flexibility and adaptability. 

You may even be able to find solutions before something becomes a problem. 

In addition to elevating the quality of your work, it will also prove that you are able to add value without needing to be told what to do. 

Following these tips will help set your career on an upward trajectory. 

Keep in mind that this is a process and that nothing will happen overnight. Just have faith in yourself. Remember all the great things you bring to the table. After all, you were hired for a reason. 

And if you’re looking for more tips to do well in your job, check out these blog posts! 

How TERRA Can Be a Resource

Need help finding your next opportunity? Consider reaching out to TERRA. 

TERRA Staffing is a leading staffing agency with many resources available for job seekers. We partner with companies large and small, across a variety of industries and we can help open the door to new career opportunities.

Getting started with us is simple. Just check out our current job openings. We have offices in the Seattle-Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, Denver and Texas-Metro areas.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us! Our expert recruiters are waiting to speak with you.

Categories: Career Tips

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