A recent poll of executives asked, " What do you feel is the single best way for employees to earn a promotion and/or raise?" Topping the list for 82% of the respondents was " Ask for more work and responsibility."

Employees who take initiative greatly enhance their chances for recognition, learning, advancement, pay raises, and bonuses - and have a more meaningful and exciting time at work. Here are some ways in which an employee can take greater initiative in his or her job:

  • Thinking outside the box. To think outside the box, look for new combinations, ask " what if" or develop " what if" scenarios, consider approaches you' ve never considered before, brainstorm with others, and be a champion of new ideas.
  • Doing your homework. Preparation is often the key to success in any endeavor. You will be more successful in convincing others that what you believe is the right thing if you are armed and ready with the facts.
  • Taking action - capitalizing on opportunities. Progressive companies realize that they need employees at all levels who are willing and encouraged to take chances and to make decisions - and be willing to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Making improvements. One of the easiest and most effective ways to take initiative is to be on the lookout for ways to improve the work processes, products, services, and systems that are a vital part of how the organization does its business.
  • Persevering. Employees who excel at taking initiative usually must also persist in the ideas and actions in which they believe. To persist - even over the objections of your manager or others - takes even more commitment and courage.

Copyright 1999 Bob Nelson, Nelson Motivation Inc.