taking initiative

The Importance of Taking Initiative


No one likes to be told they have to do something. One way to avoid it is by learning to take initiative so you won’t have to be asked to do certain tasks. 

A couple definitions

1) The ability to assess and initiate things independently. 

2) The power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do. 

Based on these two definitions alone, you can observe that taking initiative also has to do with being an independent and reliable individual. 

How can you be a person who takes initiative? Where can you demonstrate that you know how to take initiative? Why is it important to take initiative? These questions will be answered as I share my personal experiences. 

woman taking initiative
Source: Thought Catalog on Unsplash

How My Dad Taught Me About Taking Initiative 

I remember once when I was young and doing house chores, my dad suddenly said something along the lines of, “You should learn to take initiative so your mom and I don’t have to ask you to do these chores anymore. You should know how to do them on your own.” Parting from my dad’s statement I didn’t respond much, maybe because of the lack of understanding, but somehow the lesson stuck in my mind: 

Taking initiative is part of growing up. It is helpful when you do something without having to be asked. 

As I implemented this lesson while I got older, I was able to comprehend how taking initiative can make yourself, as well as others, happy. Doing chores without being asked and hearing a “Thank you for doing that” or “Good job” after felt really nice. 

However, learning this skill does not mean you should complete tasks in order to receive praise and compliments. Do not expect appreciation every time. Take initiative because it demonstrates good work ethic. In the cases where you are appreciated, it is great to have your efforts be recognized. 

taking initiative, house chores
Source: RODNAE Productions on Pexels

Taking Initiative At Your Workplace 

I’ve experienced a work shift where there weren’t any customers at the time. My co-worker suggested, “Let’s not just stand around here and do nothing. We can still work and talk, let’s not waste time. Why save the work for later or for someone else to do?” I agreed, it didn’t make sense for us to wait until we reached a state of boredom, so we tidied up the store. After that, I asked my manager if she needed us to do anything else while she did computer work and she gave us another task.  

It’s true that sometimes at work a break is enjoyable when there aren’t many customers. But keep in mind there’s always something to do. For instance, don’t think because you’re not working the closing shift you can pass work onto other employees, that is not what teamwork is about. Even if you get work done that they could have done, they won’t end up with “nothing to do.” The manager will most likely give them something to do to keep busy. Teamwork is about everyone pulling their weight and being considerate of others. There’s nothing wrong with helping lighten someone’s load. 

taking initiative, retail store
Source: Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels


How can you be a person who takes initiative? Complete tasks without having to be asked to do them. 

Where can you demonstrate that you know how to take initiative? It is useful almost anywhere: At home, at work, even at school. Though I did not mention it in this blog, in short, taking initiative at school can help you become a productive student and/or show teachers, professors, and fellow students your leadership skills. 

Why is it important to take initiative? It demonstrates that you are reliable and hard-working, and in some instances, also a good team member.  

You may not always get rewarded, but it feels awesome when you do. Taking initiative is never a waste because you either end up helping yourself, helping someone else, or the most pleasing outcome, helping both yourself and others. 

Thank you for reading this blog.

©Parting Stories 

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