Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Initiative - Take It!

As you read this series I want to encourage you to think not only about how you manage up, but how you want people to manage up to you! Whether it be my 5 Rules for the Road or your own, it pays, as always, to be clear about what you expect.

Initiative is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as ‘The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.’

Initiative is power, energy and determination unleashed and directed. Taking the Initiative means that you aren’t waiting to be told what or how to do what needs to be done. Instead it means moving forward what needs to be moved at or ahead of when its expected or required.

You do have to observe the extent of your authority. However, I’m a fan of asking forgiveness for high performance rather than asking permission.

Initiative is the polar opposite of resistance, especially passive aggressive behavior, which happens to rank at the very top of my list of unacceptable behaviors.

Manage your boss’s expectations by exceeding them. What I look for in employees is that they are continuously taking the Initiative, expanding the job they’ve been given and surprising me with unexpected results. Delivering products or results before I even asked for them or before they were due to arrive in my inbox will win my confidence. How about you? These are the folks we want in our organizations and these are the folks who will ultimately lead our organizations.

Courage and Confidence. It takes a fair amount of both of these to actually take the Initiative. It requires a little courage to move forward more or less without being told to do so. It takes a little confidence to believe in yourself to move forward without your boss looking on. Grow both of these in life and work and you’ll have no problems Managing Up.

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