As part of our Leadership Toolbox series, we have explored how you can develop your leadership skills through effective communication and by facilitating efficient meetings. In this post, we’ll focus on one of the most basic traits of a leader: the ability to lead! Taking initiative is critical if you want to make a name for yourself in business. And if you don’t know where to start, do not panic: there are so many opportunities to take initiative in any organization. Below are just a few situations where you can step in and lead.
Making Organizational Improvements
We are creatures of habit, and often we can get stuck in a rut simply because we do not have the time, energy, or wherewithal to change our habits. The same goes for companies. Where in your organization can you see room for improvement – and an opportunity to take initiative?
- System Improvements
Does your company use a filing system that no longer makes any sense and resembles organized chaos? Or are you stuck with an outdated database system that restricts your company’s potential? These are two typical examples of systems that everyone would like to see improved, but no one wants to take on.Set aside a small amount of time every day to brainstorm how you can improve outdated systems. If the task is small enough that you can handle it yourself, take it on after gaining approval to revise a broken system. If not, develop a plan to distribute tasks among staff, so a large task is effectively managed across your organization.
- Attitude Improvements
Attitudes can get caught in a rut of negativity, often resulting in a pattern of inappropriate behaviours in the office. What is the culture like in your workplace? Do employees often gossip or speak negatively in the office? Is there room for improvement for employees to become effective brand ambassadors? If any of these situations sound familiar, it’s time to step in. Recommend and organize a staff training session or a Lunch and Learn to address persistently negative attitudes that ultimately may damage the workplace environment.
- Appearance Improvements
When left unmonitored, appearance – of both the office environment and of employee dress – can slowly become less and less professional. Look around your office: when was the last time the staff pitched in to tidy up? Are certain employees’ desks messier than others? Are employees dressing like every day is casual Friday? If this is the case, work with HR to clean things up: whether it is by organizing an office-wide cleaning day or implementing a standard dress code.
Taking on Tasks
There are certain tasks that no one seems to want to take on. Whether it is a long project with no perceived ending, a portfolio with difficult clients, or an assignment that will require extra hours in the office, these tasks always require a strong leader. Be that leader – and benefit from it:
- If you lead, others will follow.
Do not panic when you take up a daunting task. If you lead, others will follow! It will be up to you to determine how to move forward and to distribute work among others. But once the first steps are taken, the support of others will make the rest of the job easier.
- Upward Mobility
There are benefits to taking on those tasks no one else wants to handle: senior staff will notice, and they will take note that you can take on challenges within your organization. If you consistently demonstrate your leadership qualities, soon you may move up to become an official leader in your company.