Workplace problems won’t solve themselves, and we can’t rely on others to solve them for us. In a competitive, global economy, we don’t have time to wait. Each of us needs to take the initiative when we see a problem, and be the person working the hardest to find a solution. The activity below will help employees think about which behaviors demonstrate positive, appropriate initiative, and which might be seen as too aggressive or too passive.
Instructions: Below is a short case study depicting a common problem that might surface in an organization. Read the example and then circle things in the following list that a person could do to show initiative in getting the problem solved.
In doing your job, you find that there are times when it takes way too long to get things done. You have some ideas for streamlining certain procedures, but no one has ever really asked for your opinion.
What are your options?
– Quietly begin complaining to your co-workers that certain procedures are inefficient and hope that one of them will bring it up to their boss.
– Before the next team meeting ends, say that you have an issue you’d like to discuss about perhaps making some adjustments to certain procedures.
– Send your supervisor an email, asking to talk to her about some ideas you have for streamlining procedures.
– Send the President of the company an email, asking to talk to her about some ideas you have for streamlining procedures.
– Leave anonymous sticky notes with jokes about the inefficient procedures on the printer by your boss’s office.
– Begin changing the procedures yourself and see if your streamlining ideas work before you suggest them to anyone else.
– Ask 3-4 people on your team to try your streamlining ideas out; if they get good results, then you will bring the streamlining issue up at your next team meeting.
– Let it go; it’s not worth the effort to change things and the risk to bring it up and appear unhappy with the way things are, or stupid if your ideas don’t work.
– Talk with a mentor or veteran employee about your ideas; see if anything like what you’re proposing has ever been tried before and ask their advice about what to do next.
Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the video program Can We Count on You?
Training Resource: Can We Count on You? is a common-sense program designed to put people–especially those entering the workforce for the first time–on the path to becoming highly valued employees. It provides a basic overview of what it takes to be seen as accountable, focusing on 10 specific day-to-day workplace behaviors.