Instill initiative in employees and a sense of ownership will be your reward
Teaching your employees to take initiative in solving problems and seeking opportunities around the workplace is one of the best ways to give them a sense of ownership and commitment. If your workforce wants to do more than just follow your orders, you can help them with these tips:
- Communicate early and often. You can increase your influence in meetings by contributing ideas early and by keeping your thoughts and opinions coming. Don't try to hog the agenda or be obnoxious, but be willing to take a few risks when expressing your opinions. Then, once a decision has been made, support it all the way whether it's based on your ideas or not.
- Look for things to change. Start a list of things you would change about your office, department or organization. Include on your list the reasons why you think they need to be changed. Then prioritize the list. See if you can find something to change on your own.
- Look for ways to make things work. A task may look difficult, but don't give up without trying. Stay away from people who say something can't be done, and concentrate all your best efforts on working through your challenge. When something goes wrong, focus on fixing it instead of blaming others. Try volunteering for tough assignments to show you're not afraid to risk failure.
- Go beyond expectations. Just because something's not in your job description doesn't mean you can't go for it. Find out what happens to the reports you write, or the products you produce, and use that knowledge to improve the quality of your work. Talk to customers, for example, to find out how they really use your widgets, and then see what you can do to make the product even more useful to them.
Jules Ciotta is president of Motivation Communications Associates. He can be reached at (770) 457-4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.