11 Good Examples of Showing Initiative at Work

Examples of Taking Initiative at Work

The initiative begins with the individual. If you want to be rewarded for the work you do, then take initiative and get it noticed! For some people, the most challenging thing about showing initiative is overcoming the fear of stepping up to take ownership. But making yourself stand out by doing something different can break down whatever shyness you may have and make it easier for your boss to notice the right things you do.

What is Taking Initiative?

Taking initiative is to undertake something boldly on your responsibility without waiting to be told. It is the desire to do things no matter what obstacles are in your path, being motivated by your determination.

In other words, showing initiative is to step up and take responsibility for making things happen. Someone who takes initiative causes things to happen while feeling responsible for what is happening around them whether it’s intentional or not.

Taking initiative can often start with nothing more than an intuition idea or a hunch and usually requires movement then forming out of it into something concrete. There are many ways of showing initiative in action.

Here are 11 good examples of showing initiative at Work:

1. Offering to help when no one asks

Good examples of showing initiative include offering to help when no one asks or without being asked. It shows that you see someone struggling or not getting something done and decide to reach out and offer your assistance rather than just standing back and watching the struggle continue and thinking about helping later.

Helping others when they are struggling has many benefits, including building relationships and character building. When you show kindness to others, they become inclined to reciprocate.

So, when you take the initiative and do something to help someone, that person will be more willing to help you out in the future.

Taking time away from your agenda or situation to offer support and advice even though others are not asking can show initiative. As mentioned earlier, helping others is a great way to build relationships and character.

2. Dealing with an obstacle straight away

When you see an obstacle in your path rather than just plowing through it, you look for the root cause of it.

Many people try to push through obstacles, thinking that “this is just the way it is,” or they assume someone else will do something to sort them out.

And that allows the obstacle to remain unaddressed and the problem to fester. Putting the extra effort into understanding and acknowledging why an obstacle exists shows you have taken the initiative to think things through and find the best way to get around it.

Read also: Top 14 Personable Skills of a Good Employee

3. Taking care of small issues before they become big

Taking care of small problems before they become big ones is one of the examples of showing initiative. It is such a simple concept, but so many people do not act on it.

If you see something that needs to be done and which no one else seems to be handling, then you handle it — whether it is changing out a light bulb, fixing a squeaky door or clearing up a water leak, drying up a wet floor, or getting rid of slip and strip that can hurt someone.

All these might seem like minor issues, but when left unattended can create major hazards for people. So, because of your proactive initiative, you solved a potentially big problem.

4. Taking on a task that others neglected

When you take on something that other people have tried and failed at, or are just not interested in doing, then you are showing initiative.

You might be taking on a project that everyone else has declared impossible or too time-consuming, or perhaps you’re stepping up to finish a task where others have failed to complete.

Even if it’s something that seems difficult — remember that there is nothing worth having that isn’t worth working for!

5. Being inquisitive about what the job entails

Being inquisitive about what the job entails — and who does or will do it in the future, especially those with whom you share the responsibilities – helps you know how to do a job better.

You can also look for conflicts of interest, be they human or otherwise. It might help you come up with innovative ideas and solutions to improve the workplace and relationships.

Read also: 10 Ways How to Be Attentive to Details

6. Providing career advice to a colleague

Good examples of taking initiative include providing free career advice to junior colleagues and helping them transition smoothly into the company.

One of the challenges many junior employees encounter is knowing how to manage their careers.

When a senior colleague offers free career advice to junior colleagues, it is a great gesture. It makes the workplace inclusive and fosters an environment of caring where everybody finds their job meaningful.

7. Setting your sights on a promotion

You do not hang around in the same position with limited opportunities. Instead, you engineer your promotion strategy that means looking for roles available in the company.

It also means networking with work colleagues in other departments to know which job opportunity is already available for you to take over.

If you find a role that requires a different set of skills, start updating your knowledge immediately to suit the requirements.

There’s no point in wanting to be promoted without the right skills to perform the new role. You don’t need to wait for your boss to tell you about your performance.

You pro-actively check with your boss to know if the job you do is up to standard or not and if there are areas that you can improve on.

Build excellent relationships with their managers by being courteous, helpful, and professional in all situations. When new opportunities become available, you’re ready to take them.

8. Standing up against injustices

How often do you see something wrong and do nothing because you don’t know what to do? Taking initiative and stand up against injustices in the workplace even when no one else has done so is a sign of being a true leader.

If something is wrong, don’t wait for someone else to fix the problem. Sometimes other people will not like you standing up for what’s right, but you shouldn’t worry about their opinions.

You stand alone as an advocate for what is right despite all odds against your initiative since it goes against what some people think or want.

You say “no” to actions that disregard the rules of morality or legality. And speak up on behalf of those wronged because doing so makes sure such practices stop.

Be courageous and willing to listen to opinions but only if that will stamp out any injustices.

9. Learning something you were afraid of

Learning something you were afraid of will help you attach to prospects or clients and help you build a better rapport with them. Likewise, learning about different cultures can make you open up to others without fear.

It does not mean you should take on more than you can chew, but you should not be afraid to tackle new concepts and ideas. Because if you want to grow as a person and a professional, you have to keep an open mind to allow yourself to learn more every day.

Read more: 16 Character Traits of a Hard Worker

10. Asking for feedback from work colleagues

Asking for feedback from colleagues and use it to improve your skills. Many people have inflated egos and therefore avoid learning about themselves.

In other words, if you are not self-critical and self-accountable or open to criticism from colleagues, you are not going to grow as a person.

People who ask for feedback from others know what they want out of their professional life. Being open to feedback from co-workers can help you in your personal development, and that is one way of showing initiative at work.

By having an open mind, you are willing to listen to people with different thoughts from yours, embracing the fact that they may see things differently than you expect.

11. Identifying your development areas

Take time to reflect on how your daily job relates to the objectives or goals of your company. Identifying what needs improvement through self-reflection sets you up for success by enabling you to take steps towards improving yourself every day at work.

You will start seeing where you can make improvements, even if they are small ones. And this is the way of showing initiative at work.


Taking initiative is a great skill especially, for employees to have because it encourages them to meet new challenges with enthusiasm and rewards them by increasing their confidence which in turn motivates them towards productivity again from this point on.

Managers should trust and reward “higher-level thinkers” who can find solutions to difficult problems and anticipate potential pitfalls.

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