7 Steps to Getting Someone to Take Initiative

get some ot take intiative

Animal House Initiative

Ever wanted someone to take more initiative, but they didn’t?

Maybe you wanted it so badly that you begged, pleaded, and even chopped a few heads (not literally) to set an example?

Or even worse, you said…

“It’ll be easier if I just do it myself”

Clearly, there’s an initiative void at work.

But have you ever thought about why initiative is so hard to come by?

The 3 main reasons that most employees take initiative are:

  1. To quiet the complaining and get back to doing what they really want
  2. To keep from getting fired
  3. Or the mysterious reason they “just get it” aka they were born with that genetic make-up where they take charge (this may feel like believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny)

So I’m giving you a break down on these 3, and then I’ll present you with an alternative that’s way better.

#1 Taking Initiative to Quiet the Complaining

It isn’t bad when employees take the initiative just because they’re sick of the complaining.

It can get the job done but it’s emotionally exhausting and impossible to predict when the initiative will occur.

This is mainly because everyone has a different threshold for whining.

Initiative from quieting the complaining depends on:

  1. The problem getting bigger and more costly.
  2. The person at the right level starts riding them.
  3. Your team shaming them into believing it’s now their responsibility to do something when originally it wasn’t (I hate this one but it’s incredibly effective)

#2 Taking Initiative to Keep from Getting Fired

The threat of getting fired is also an effective way to motivate people into action.

It’s usually pretty reliable because when staring down the proverbial barrel of a gun you can get people to do practically anything.

The downside is that the momentum is only temporary and can’t be sustained.

When you go to the well too many times on “do this or else” you’ll find that you’ve:

  • Cried wolf so many times that no believes you’re going to fire them.
  • Created a team that’s actively seeking jobs elsewhere.
  • Run out of employees to fire.

#3 Taking Initiative because “He/She Just Gets It”

I hear this one all the time.

Some people may be wired to take initiative. They just can’t resist.

They often show-up as John Wayne or Steve Jobs.

The problem is that you just don’t know when they’re going to show-up and which moments they’re going to do their thing.

It’s too unpredictable and definitely not scalable.

Plus these people tend to annoy everyone else on the team.

7 Steps to Get Someone to Take Initiative

So today, you’re going to be faced with needing someone (or a group of someone’s) to do something that’s really important.

It’s going to be critical to make things better.

Or your career’s at stake. Maybe theirs too.

Or maybe the future of the organization is hanging in the balance.

Follow this 7 step recipe to motivating your co-workers or team to take initiative:

  1. Ask question
  2. Listen
  3. Ask more questions and reveal what’s at stake for them
  4. Share what’s at stake for you
  5. Ask for their commitment to a shared outcome
  6. Negotiate
  7. Check-in to confirm that they’re still committed

Put these 7 steps in your calendar and go through them in your next staff meeting.

Notice the impact on results.

PS: Found the article helpful? Please send the link to this article to two friends. It’s inspirational!

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