What are you waiting for? There are a million tasks that need to be completed, and you know which ones fall within your scope of responsibilities and skills. So why aren’t you doing them? If the answer is, “No one has told me to yet,” you’re about to get the leg up on how to impress your boss.
One simple rule to follow that can help you differentiate yourself from the crowd is taking initiative. Sounds easy enough, but the reality is so few people act on those opportunities. We could blame the millennial generation for being babied and wanting everything handed to them, but it could also be as simple as being afraid of failing.
It’s time to let go of that fear and put your best foot forward. If you do fail, then own it, learn from it and move forward. Take the initiative, you will get noticed more quickly and become more appreciated in the workplace.
So what does this phrase “take initiative” mean? Plainly, complete tasks or volunteer for more, before you are told to. Instead of being handed a list of things you need to complete, anticipate what will be on that list. Also, be willing to take on a little extra responsibility when the opportunity is offered up.
One example could be knowing exactly how your boss likes reports submitted. Maybe they like three physical copies on their desk before they walk out the door in the evening. They always send a reminder email in the morning so no one forgets. However, yours are neatly stacked on their desk before they walk in that morning.
A big project coming up? Ask what you can do to assist the team. Don’t wait for them to come and see if you would like to help. Take the reins and show them that you are willing and able to do a little more.
Always ask if there is more you can be doing. Sitting idle is a waste for you and your organization. Breaks are necessary and overworking is entirely possible. Know your capabilities and take on what you can. Every little bit helps.
Every day, think about why you do the work that you do. Hopefully you do it because it is a passion and you love it. If that is the case, why aren’t you constantly striving to do more and get better? Use that passion to drive your initiative.
A final story to leave you with. While hiring executives for the 2015-2016 ImPRessions firm, we had to turn a few members down. One of which reached out and ask to meet and talk about how she could get better. As soon as we received a new client over the summer, she was placed as an executive. Her name continues to resonate with me as she moves up within the firm.
Take that initiative. Show that you care about your work and demonstrate your capabilities. Those little actions can leave lasting effects.
Austin Ambrose is a Senior Journalism major. He is also the CEO of ImPRessions. Follow him on Twitter @Tex_Ambrose7.