How To Encourage Employees To Take Initiative

April 28, 2015

taking initiativeDo you have to micromanage your staff every day in the office?

Do you feel like you need to give constant motivational speeches just to get them through the day?

All it takes to fix these issues is to encourage your team members to take initiative over their work.

This requires getting them to feel motivated to be responsible for their own work, as well as invested enough in the company’s success to go above and beyond the regular scope of duties.

There are ways to empower employees to take initiative, which we will share in this article.

More Responsibility – Although not many individuals would volunteer to take on more responsibility at work, that is often a good strategy to get them to show initiative. For example, if you pick out a smart and talented employee and assign him a group leader role that makes him oversee others, that automatically gives him more power to be invested in the efficiency of his colleagues. Assigning different group leaders weekly, or creating chains of command where employees have to report to each other, makes staff members care about how well their co-workers perform, as it will directly affect their roles in the company.

Acknowledgement – Sometimes, the cause of employees’ disengagement from their roles in the office is the fault of the manager, not the employee. Certain managers like to maintain the status quo; expecting their staff to focus on individual work and nothing more. If and when any of the employees had ideas, they were ignored or shut down. Obviously, in an environment where creativity and thinking outside-the-box are not valued, the individuals will stop trying, and will focus only on their given tasks. This is not good for the workers, as they don’t feel valued, and not good for the company, because innovation will never be enacted. Acknowledging employees’ hard work and novel ideas will persuade them to take more initiative.

Inspiration – To some supervisors, initiative means having employees volunteer to take on more work. However, initiative does take on many forms, from creative ideas to suggestions to improve the way things are currently done. In order to encourage this way of thinking, provide inspiration to your employees, which can be done in many different ways. Allow your workers the chance to get out of the office every once in a while to volunteer, help others, or simply spend the day outside. There is nothing like doing a good deed or being around nature to get creative juices flowing. Or, bring in examples of inspirational work to inspire members by really good work.

Managers and their employees are equally responsible for staff empowerment. Supervisors that hold the reins too tight simply suppress any unique ideas that workers may have. However, assigning more responsibility, acknowledging good work and providing inspiration are great starts to encouraging employees to take more initiative.

Many thanks

Gavin Muge

Senior Trainer & Consultant

Mark Williams 3