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The ability to know when something needs to be done, then stepping up to help, is a habit that may elevate you to stand out at work. Taking initiative means doing something without someone telling you to do it, or before someone else does it. Be proactive – thank head and take action!

Change Your Habits

Don’t wait for direction or being told what to do next – take some initiative and start something on your own. This can apply to both your professional and personal life, and may actually improve the lives of those around you.

The more you work on initiative, the easier it will become. Try finding new ways to take action before you are told to do it will help build your decision making and analytical skills. Taking initiative shows others that you are resourceful, and you can act independently – a true leader and role model in the making!

Develop Your Skills

First, know what you want to achieve – what needs to be done, what you’re willing to do, and how long it will take. This may include learning something new, finding new ways of working, or even fixing problems.

If you notice any coworkers around the office have great initiative, take a few lessons from them. Even ask how they do it – what is their process and how do they accomplish goals?

Start Small

When tackling a new problem or project, don’t be afraid to start off small. Build up your skills or jumping into a large project. Focus on a little bit and work your way up.

For example, try to speak up more. Start participating more in group settings by sharing your ideas or recommendations. Let people hear what you have to say and don’t be afraid. After a while, you will be able to contribute more and those around you will want to know your thoughts.

Be Decisive

Aim to be more confident indecision making by avoiding over-thinking the steps and final outcome. Otherwise, over-thinking may hinder your results and possibly make the problem worse.

Look for More Responsibility

Start by doing your everyday job duties extremely well. Look for ways in which you can contribute over your daily tasks.

Consider running any new ideas past your manager. Reassure them that your daily tasks will not be affected, and ask if you can work on new projects. From there, start slow and gradually work your way up with any additional tasks. Overall, your team and your department may benefit from your hard work and dedication. Who knows – you may even be consider for a promotion!

Solve Problems

Let’s be real – problems are going to happen at work, ranging from minor to major. First you need to identify the problem, then find ways to come up with a solution. If the problem is rather large, break it down into smaller areas and resolve those one at a time. If you are having difficulty, try and ask coworkers for help and brainstorming new ways to resolve the issue at hand. Remember that some solutions may not work, however in the long run, this will help to strengthen your problem solving skills!

Tackle the Tuff Stuff

If there are any projects coworkers may be avoiding, take the initiative and make them a priority. This way everyone will benefit and show your boss you’re not afraid of hard work.

Examples may include organizing files, archiving old documents, even deep cleaning the office kitchen or fridge. Consciously make an effort to do tasks when you have some downtime.

Share Your Knowledge

A simple way to show initiative at work, is to share your job skills, by training or simply explaining things to other coworkers. For example, if you recently went to a workshop or took an online course, share what you learned over a lunch meeting. You never know who may benefit from the knowledge.

Be Helpful

Empower others in your office by sharing any tips and information, or simply offer to help if someone needs it. Consider training coworkers or new hires as a way to help. Also take time to listen to others thoughts and comments – this will may also help you to learn more.

Give Status Updates

Keep your manager and other team members regularly informed. This way everyone will be on the same page with your priorities and work load. In addition, ask others to keep you updated with any information you may need to stay connected.


If there is an opportunity for you to cross-train with another department or even learn different jobs in your current department, volunteer to be that person. You will not only create new working relationships, but may learn new and valuable skills that could come in handy in the future.

Other ways you can volunteers are helping plan office activities, help decorate the office for holidays and parties, offer to pick up lunch for the office, etc.

Step In to Step Up

If someone is unexpectedly sick or has a planned absence from the office, step in when needed to help get the job done. This may help the person who is away from the office, as well as show your boss your ability to take initiative.


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