Encouraging Initiative Among Employees, a Successful Strategy

In the context of a business environment based on competition and a continuous evolution, the need to have employees who have the control of the work they perform might appear within organizations. Moreover, a company’s leaders are aware that the most valuable employees are those who can work independently, be creative and have the ability to innovate through the ideas they propose. Unfortunately, there are many cases when employees get to fall into the routine of doing just what they need to do and nothing more, avoiding to come up with proposals, even when they are encouraged or asked to do it.

Such situations occur because they might have been discouraged in the past, and the fear of making mistakes that could affect their careers, having a bad image in front of their colleagues or superiors, causes them to refrain from expressing their ideas. Also, there are cases in which employees lose their motivation and enthusiasm for their work and feel that a mere idea or a proposal means too much involvement comparing to what they are willing to offer. Whatever the cause, it is vital for the leaders of an organization to take measures to encourage initiative among employees.

The Good Ideas and The Inspiring Leaders

A first step that managers can do to encourage initiative among employees is to communicate and explain to them why it is important to come up with ideas. Team members must understand that a proposal with the potential to be implemented could bring benefits not only to the whole organization but also to the career evolution of the one who had the willingness to undertake new things. If the attitude among teams is a proactive one, directed towards action, the customers will be more satisfied, the results will be better, projects can take shape, and this could be a benefit for all employees.

Leaders are those who inspire people within a company, those who represent a role model. Successfull leaders are not only those who have to give orders but also the ones who motivate employees to deliver their best, including when it comes to ideas. People are much more creative when they work in a pleasant environment with a positive atmosphere where taking initiative is encouraged. At the opposite pole, when employees only receive orders and have just duties, not rights, they will limit themselves to doing just what they know for sure is good, without risking to fail and being criticized or penalized for this.

Recognizing Efforts and Creating a Positive Atmosphere

When it comes to decisions that don’t have so much impact on the smooth running of the organization, managers should encourage teams and their leaders to decide things without requiring approval. This will generate among employees the feeling that the leaders trust them, they will focus their efforts on making things better and will have the courage to propose new ideas. Also, when things fail in practice, it’s good to be thankful to employees for their commitment and efforts, in order to encourage the intention of having more initiatives in the future.

If an idea proves to be successful, gratitude is the first form of reward that the employee who had the initiative should benefit from. For example, he or she might be offered one extra day off or his superiors could congratulate the employee in front of the other team members and give him as an example during the first meeting. Encourage workplace initiative will make the employees feel more confident in themselves and grow within the organization, to develop and to become reliable people for the entire business. Keep in mind that discouraging any type of initiative will resemble rigidity and create a hostile climate in which few people will want to stay.


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