How to Take Initiative at Work

person working on a laptop

Taking initiative at work is a crucial skill for any employee who wants to succeed in the workplace. As a temporary employee, learning how to take initiative could help land you a permanent job offer, while as a permanent employee, it could lead to a raise or a promotion. If you want to gain insight on what it means to take initiative on the job, check out this overview to learn how to find opportunities to be proactive.

1. Offer Assistance

Part of taking initiative at work is making sure you always have something to do. The easiest way to stay busy is to help out other people and departments with their workload. When you have downtime in between projects, you should seek extra opportunities to help out around the office. Offer to assist your supervisor or coworkers if you see them struggling to meet a deadline or finish a project.

When it comes time to hand out bonuses or offer promotions, your boss will remember the times where you stepped up to the plate to offer assistance.

2. Seek Improvement

proactive employee constantly seeks ways to improve processes around the office.

Taking initiative at work means always keeping your eyes peeled for ways to make office procedures more efficient and effective and then sharing your suggestions with your supervisor. For example, if you think you have a great way to boost your company’s online presence, come up with a pitch for your boss and present it to them.

3. Solve Problems

Take the initiative to solve problems when they arise whenever possible. A quick problem solver is a great asset for any manager because you’re taking stress off your boss and freeing up their time for better office management and employee support.

Although, if there is ever a problem that you believe you are unauthorized to take care of, you should definitely seek assistance before trying to solve things yourself and stepping on any toes. Taking initiative at work doesn’t mean overstepping boundaries or offering advice when it’s not needed.

4. Ask for More Responsibilities

If you feel you have mastered your current responsibilities and have extra time to take on more work each day, you should let your boss know. Rather than sitting around waiting for your boss to give you more work, you should go to them and let them know you can handle more. 

Ask your boss if there are any tasks that you could take off their hands and manage yourself. Seeking additional responsibilities will show that you are ready for a promotion and also possibly deserve a raise.

5. Work Hard

Taking initiative at work doesn’t always require you to seek extra work outside of your set responsibilities. It also applies to exceeding expectations for those responsibilities within your role. Plan ahead to turn in your work before a deadline or prepare in advance for projects that haven’t started yet to ensure proactive engagement with your role. You should also focus on performing to the best of your ability. Turning in your work early means nothing if your supervisor needs to make changes and edits because you were rushing through a task!

Working on Another Level

There are many qualities that employers seek when looking for employees, but taking initiative at work is one of the most important. You should aim to exceed all of your supervisor’s expectations for your work and go above and beyond the call of duty whenever possible. Frequently taking initiative is the surest way to succeed and grow as a professional.

WAI Staff

Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving businesses and job seekers in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1972, we’ve been dedicated to matching highly qualified candidates with a wide variety of temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions. We prioritize the needs of both our clients and candidates to ensure successful, lasting relationships.