Leadership Training: Personal Initiative
Personal initiative is one of the most important aspects of leadership training.
Personal initiative is deciding to act, before anyone tells you to act, or before the situation demands it.
Personal initiative is the act of using your own imagination and intelligence to see what could be done, to advance and improve upon your current situation.
All great leaders have personal initiative. They don't wait for circumstances to be right; instead leaders create the right circumstances by taking action, on their own volition.
In relation to personal initiative, there are four character types.
Please read the following four character types and decide, which one you think you most resemble.
Level one personality: A person with a High degree of personal initiative
This is the person who fulfils the definition of personal initiative. This person has the tendency to act, to do the right thing, before being told by anyone to act, and before the situation demands action.
As a small example, this is the type of person who would see the kitchen bin is full, and so, on their own initiative, takes out the full bin-liner, and ties it up, and puts it out in the dustbin, then replenishes the kitchen bin with a fresh liner and puts the lid back.
Job done. No fuss. No problem.
On a larger example, the person with personal initiative, sees there is an opportunity in the market place for a new product or service, the person creates a product or service, arranges the financing, and premises and staff and builds a business that services the needs of its customers, gives employment to its staff, pays its taxes and creates a profit for its owners.
This is a Richard Branson type. This is level-one personal initiative.
Level two personality. A slightly Lesser degree of personal initiative
This is the person who does the right thing, but only if asked to do it. If not asked to do it, he-she may not think to do it.
If asked to do something, then he-she would do the task without any argument. They would do it willingly and well. But they would not have done it if they had not been asked to do so by someone else.
As an example, this is the type of person who would see the kitchen bin is full, and would then squeeze in another box by compressing the contents to allow his item into the bin. You see him do it and ask him instead, to empty the bin. Only then does he. The Job is done. With not much fuss. Not too much of a problem.
But you wonder, "Why did he not see the bin needed emptying?"
Level three personality. Not much personal initiative
This is the person who will do the right thing, but only if they are asked multiple times. They need to be told repeatedly to do something. They need to be nagged. Even to do the simplest of tasks.
This is the type of person who would see the kitchen bin is full, and would then squeeze in another box by compressing the contents to allow his item into the bin. You see him do it and ask him instead, to empty the bin.
But instead of doing it, he argues. He says that it is not his job; that he is too busy, that it is not his turn; that we have cleaners for that. You have to have an argument with him and he eventually does the task. But he makes such a fuss. A simple task becomes a problem.
You walk away from him and wonder: Why won't he just do what needs to be done?
Level Four personality. Zero personal initiative
This is the person who will not do what needs to be done, no matter how many times he is told. No matter how bad the situation gets. No matter how obvious the need to act becomes. This is the person who is almost suicidal in their lack of personal initiative.
This is the type of person who would see the kitchen bin is full, and would then squeeze in another box by compressing the contents. You see him do it and ask him instead, to empty the bin. But instead of doing it, he argues, that it is not his job; that he is too busy. He point-blank refuses to do it.
Not only that; but his work is always late. He is badly dressed. He has stains down the front of his shirt. He drinks too much alcohol. His car has no insurance. His relationships are a mess. His health is poor. His hygiene habits are worse.
It is obvious that he needs a major overhaul on his life systems, and yet he does nothing to make anything better.
This is the guy who has no personal initiative. He won't do what needs to be done, even though it is plainly obvious that it needs to be done. But he makes such a fuss and won't do even simple things: he refuses to.
This is a person who has no personal initiative. And he is in deep trouble.
Do you know anyone who is
- A level one personal initiative - a Richard Branson type?
- A level two - will do it only if asked, type?
- A level three - will do it only if nagged a thousand times, type?
- A level four - won't do it, no matter how bad things get, type?
And the all important question - which type do you most resemble?