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Be your own boss – even when you’re not!

Take the initiative


Can you remember the day you were interviewed for that position you so badly wanted? You carefully planned your wardrobe and groomed to perfection. At the interview you chose your words carefully and managed to say the right thing at the right time; “I love working with people”, “I am a quick learner”, “I am a very reliable person”. You told the interviewer that you had your life in order and a support system to take care of sick children. Your transport was organised, and that you hated being late for anything. Of course, you got the job!

The first week went well. However, you soon decided that it was not necessary to be on time every day. You just needed a good excuse. All that stuff about a smile in the voice and getting up when a customer walks in – what for? You are constantly thinking about what could be the latest on social media. Procrastinating becomes the order of the day, and when confronted by peers about your tardy work performance, there is always an excuse at hand. There is suddenly a big gap between the promise and the delivery.This is not exactly the report we want to see about ourselves. This would be a reflection of the person who does not care about an own personal brand and fails to recognise the importance of building a reputation as a self-starter.

Fortunately, there are those who do not need a boss to tell them what to do. Their “boss” lives inside them, which means that they are consistently taking their own initiative and delivering quality work. They are the ones, who do not require “hard work” to manage. Being your “own boss” has everything to do with being ambitious and taking the initiative instead of measuring your success by how well you carry out instructions. Initiative is all about taking charge. An initiative is the first in a series of actions. Initiative can also mean a personal quality that shows a willingness to get things done and take responsibility. An initiative is the start of something, with the hope that it will continue.

These are actions to consider:

  • Always be alert for ways to make something work better, simplify processes and finding better ways to do things.
  • Do more than what is required of you.
  • Lead by example to  implement new processes.
  • Think as a team member, not as an employee.
  • Stay alert for ways to save money and  reduce costs. 
  • Reach out to colleagues and team members who need help.
  • Be the first to volunteer for those tough projects and assignments.
  • Always think ahead and pre-empt likely obstacles with well-thought-out plans that take those obstacles into consideration.
  • Provide, in advance, the answers to the questions you know are going to be asked.
  • Think like your boss and consider all deliverables from her perspective before you submit them.
  • Be prepared by doing proper research. Always do your homework – you now have a constant companion in Google.
  • Deal with problems immediately; take action and be decisive. 

Showing initiative demonstrates your value at work. Initiative correlates strongly with personal achievement and professional development. It is the act of taking personal responsibility for your growth, and it is a clear sign of your capacity to develop as a leader. Take the initiative, make it happen and be your own boss.