Definition: Work behavior characterized by its self-starting nature, its proactive approach, and its persistent in overcoming difficulties that arise in pursuit of a goal.




Consider these suggestions when honing your ability to take initiative:

  • Look for the next task– always be on the lookout something that can be improved
  • Do more than is required– go above and beyond the minimum requirements of completing a task
  • Speak up – contribute to meetings and share your ideas when brainstorming
  • Consider every opportunity – ask yourself: “what opportunities for growth can come from this situation?”
  • Always be prepared – continually refine your skills so that when the opportunity presents itself, you’re ready
  • Ask questions – frequently ask questions to clarify ambiguous directions or assignments

There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – Mary Kay Ash

Self-Directed Learning Activities


Relevant Readings:

·         Drive and Initiative Chapter (PDF)

·         48 Ways to Take More Initiative at Work and in Life:

·         Initiative: (

·         Taking Initiative: Making Things Happen at Work: (

·         10 Tips for Adding Value:



·         Gustavson, P., & Liff, S. (2014). A team of leaders: Empowering every member to take ownership, demonstrate initiative, and deliver results. New York: American Management Association.

·         McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York: Free Press.

·         Seldman, M., & Seldman, J. (2008). Executive stamina: How to optimize time, energy, and productivity to achieve peak performance. John Wiley & Sons.

·         Sweeney, P. (2015). What you aren’t seeing: How using your hidden potential can help discover the leader within. New York: McGraw-Hill Education


Self-Guided Activities:

·         Taking Initiative (PDF)

·         48 Ways to Take Initiative in Your Life and Work (PDF)


Guided Learning Activities



·         Make a to-do list (see planning and organization for details creating a to-do list), and once it’s complete practice initiative by taking action. Immediately begin working on the tasks in the list, and check them off once completed. Be proactive, and avoid procrastination with the tasks. Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after using the daily planner. Assess what went right and where you could improve, and analyze the overall outcome

·         Identify an issue or problem that your department is facing without being asked to do so. Problem-solve and develop a plan for a potential solution. Go to your supervisor with this solution and ask for his/her support to implement your plan to solve the problem.

·         Ask for feedback from your supervisor concerning your initiative. Do he/she believe that you take action without being asked? Do you identify problems and independently generate solutions? Create a developmental plan with them where you create goals and track your progress.


Formal Training/Education


School and Course Module(s):

·         Casper College

o   Leading Organizational Change - MGT 2050: (3L)(3CR) This class will combine leadership concepts with models of organizational change. Change will be examined at the individual, team, and organizational or systems level. The focus is on uncovering traps that create stress, waste resources, slow change efforts, or lead to outright failure and discovering how to lead, cope and win in the face of great change. Class participants become familiar with a variety of change models as they are utilized in real organizations attempting change. The class will examine how organizational culture is an ever-present barrier to lasting change and how that impacts the decision on the part of organizations to initiate change.

o   Principles of Management - MGT 2100: (3L)(3CR) [E] Analyzes objectives, policies, organizational structure, material and human resource utilization, human relations, planning, innovating, and controlling as management responsibilities. Students also study and discuss current activities in specific areas of business and industry.

·         Central Wyoming College

o   COM/MGT 2130 - Human Relations: This course is designed to help students become successful in predicting, understanding, and influencing the outcome of their interactions with others by better understanding themselves. The course will involve readings, group activities, class discussions and short essays to explore and analyze theoretical concepts of human relations and their application from a personal, interpersonal, and organizational perspective. The use of interactive instruction will develop the student's ability to solve problems and think critically about their relationships with themselves, their peers, and their co-workers. The course will provide students with human relations skills critical for successful employment in a supervisory capacity. Students earning credit in CO/M 2130 may not earn credit in MGT 2130. (3 lect.) ORAL

o   BADM 1020: Successful business professionals are effective communicators. This course will develop and sharpen students’ written, oral and interpersonal communication skills. Students will explore crucial rhetorical issues that impact their ability to communicate and achieve specific objectives as business leaders. The psychology and mechanics of written business communication will be thoroughly explored and widely applied. Documents that demand careful planning and composition, solid content and argument, and logical organization and structure will be created. Non-written applications in business areas such as international/intercultural, nonverbal, interpersonal, and ethical communication will also be stressed. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 1010. (3 lect.) WR2

·         Eastern Wyoming College

o   MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision (3L, 3CR): This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. The course should assist one to acquire the skills necessary

·         Laramie County Community College

o   MGT 1000 INTRODUCTION TO SUPERVISION Students acquire techniques to improve or establish themselves as first-line supervisors. The student will understand and be able to apply basic management principles in solving problems encountered by first-line supervisors. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 0810 or equivalent placement test score.

o   MGT 1500 LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS Students develop performance-based competencies and skills needed to prepare for leadership positions in today's workplace. Topics explored include leadership communication, conflict resolution, employee and self development, change management, coaching, managing performance problems, and team building. Students develop action plans for transitioning the skills discussed during class into the workplace.

·         Northwest College

o   CO/M 2015 - Leadership Skills: (1-3)This course is designed to educate specified groups in effective leadership skills. Includes discussion and practice in teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, planning, conflict management, and social responsibility. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. (.5 hr lec, 1 hr lab)

·         Western Wyoming Community College

o   COMM 1070 EFFECTIVE LISTENING: Listening is the process of hearing, attending to, interpreting, remembering, and responding to spoken messages. This course will explore listening theories and research, the listening process, listening challenges, various listening contexts; and essential listening skills.