Taking initiative in a group can be tricky because collaboration comes in many forms.
If you’re a part of a team in a professional environment, you’ll probably experience a wide variety of collaboration dynamics throughout your career.
So, if you want to be the person who knows how to take initiative but not the person who gets stuck doing all of the work, these do’s and don’ts will help you strike that balance! Let’s start with the 4 do’s.
Taking Initiative Do’s
1. Do Provide Your Team With Clear Expectations:
Remember, no one can read your mind. So, if you’re taking the initiative to spearhead a new project, communicate your vision clearly. That way the project gets done without doing all of the work yourself.
First, provide your team with clear expectations when you take the reigns then trust that they’ll do what is needed.
2. Do Offer Your Help to Others:
An easy way to take more initiative in a team environment is by offering your help instead of waiting for people to ask.
Maybe they’re working on an element of a project you love and they’re swamped. After you’ve already completed your portion of the project, ask if they could use an extra set of hands. Feel free to offer your help to others in a team environment.
After all, there’s no I in team!
3. Do Contribute Ideas for Improvement:
If you see a task that could be done a better way, say something!
If you know of cutting-edge technology you could use to improve the project, say something!
A major part of taking initiative is contributing your ideas. Championing ideas for improvement will show your team your passion and point of view. Become the kind of person who doesn’t have to be told to look for potential problems or inefficiencies. Instead, seek them out, and contribute ideas to save the day!
4. Do Your Best Work for Your Team:
The root of taking initiative is doing your best work. Don’t churn out lower-quality results just to prove that you can get more done.
Don’t lower your standards to fit the performance level of the rest of the team.
Do your best work for your team and trust that they will meet the standards set along the way.
Now that you have a better understanding of what you should do if you want to walk the line between taking initiative and being stuck doing all of the work in a team environment, it’s time to cover 4 don’ts that you definitely want to avoid.
Taking Initiative Don’ts
1. Don’t Volunteer to Do All or Most of the Tasks:
First, if you don’t want to get stuck doing all of the work, don’t volunteer to do it all.
This might seem like a no-brainer. But the people pleaser in us might not be easily persuaded. Whether you want to be well-liked or take complete control, shut it down.
Volunteering to do all the work can be a major stumbling block for professionals who want to take more initiative.
Instead, trust in your team and set clear expectations from the start. After, you’ll be surprised to find that you won’t have to do all of the work yourself.
2. Don’t Just Take Over What Others Are Doing:
Don’t want to steamroll your team. I know it can be tempting to just say, “move over, I’ll just do it myself”. But please, resist the urge.
If you want your fellow team members to contribute, learn how to lend a hand without taking the wheel.
Don’t just take over what others are doing. Offer your help but make sure you’re listening to their needs and input along the way.
3. Don’t Forget to Listen to Others and Let the Best Idea Win:
While being a champion for your own ideas, don’t forget to listen to others.
Remember, the point of working as a team is to collaborate. Indulge in the ability to listen to multiple points of view and let the best idea win. The results will outshine what one person could have done on their own!
4. Don’t Repeatedly Cover for Others:
Don’t repeatedly clean up other people’s messes or cover work for coworkers who are slacking on their responsibility. You’ll create a toxic team dynamic where you’re expected to do more than your fair share.
Make sure you hold up your end of the bargain and help where you’re needed. Then leave the rest of it up to your team.
If they aren’t getting their jobs done, that’s on them.
True collaboration comes from open communication and, with these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be well on your way to taking initiative and collaborating effectively in your professional team!
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