The word initiative comes from the base root of initiate. It’s etymology; latin prefix in- means to innovate, review, bring a new idea or method, or begin, and suffix -ive means to make or to cause. By breaking down the word ‘initiative’. It will help draw a clearer picture, and outline how important it is for leaders to exemplify this characteristic. Before taking initiative you must recognize, and overcome three barriers: Knowledge, Fear, and Stress.
Knowledge. Probably the most common barrier preventing initiative, is knowledge. This requires the confidence and humility to ask questions. When you feel like you lack knowledge, think…learn and leverage. This is a great opportunity to look at your team to use their strengths in areas where you may have a weakness. Can you learn the necessary task quickly? Can you leverage other individuals to use their skills for you? For example: You’re leadership team has tasked you with creating a Keynote presentation, but you don’t know how to use Keynote software. Good news! Someone on your team is familiar with the software. You can take advantage of this opportunity by asking for a quick training from them, or leverage their ability to help you complete the task. (Don’t forget to provide them with due credit for helping.)
Fear. If you are consistently experiencing lackluster, it may attribute to fear. A very common emotion associated with initiative. Fear of failure, embarrassment, and/or rejection. By embracing your emotion of fear, asking for help, and opening up to utilize the gifts of others within the team, you’re able to turn this weakness into a valuable strength. To overcome fear, you must become vulnerable. Brené Brown explains the power of vulnerability in her TED Talks video and book titled, Daring Greatly.
Stress. When affecting initiative, we associate stress with overwork, overwhelm, pressure, and too much responsibility. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s time for some reevaluation of current projects and delegation on new initiatives. Take a step back and review what energize and which exhaust you. Then pass along the tasks which exhaust you onto team members who’s strength will be best utilized. A great example of this team work is the ant. When they come across food that is to large for them to carry, they recruit other foragers from their colony to assist them. They proceed to dismantle and carry the food together, in manageable sizes.
but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”