Initiative Skills In The Workplace: Definition And Examples

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Taking initiative in the workplace can help professionals boost confidence and advance in their careers. While everyone may have a different skill set that contributes to their success, people with well-established initiative skills typically do well at work and may have a higher chance of getting promotions. Learning what skills are important for taking initiative and how to use them in the workplace can help you impress employers. In this article, we define initiative skills, provide some examples, discuss how to improve these skills and share tips for highlighting your skills during the job search and interview process.

What Are Initiative Skills?

Initiative skills are the traits and abilities that allow professionals working in various settings to become productive and resourceful by performing the tasks on their own. Individuals with these skills can understand how to think for themselves and are able to take action when necessary. These skills can also act as a self-management skill set. It allows individuals to become open-minded and approach others for help without getting hesitated. Many companies prefer hiring employees who have the ability to think on their own and complete the task without waiting for others to tell them what to do.

A team of professionals with great initiation skills can help a company grow and surpass its competitors. Skilled professionals may have a tendency to work hard towards completing the task before time so that they can focus on the next one. Developing the skills that help you take initiative can also help individuals to improve their leadership qualities, time management, teamwork and communication skills.

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Examples Of Skills That Help You Take Initiative

There are several skills that can help you during the hiring process by increasing the chances of getting the job and while performing your daily responsibilities. Here are some common examples of these skills:


Problem-solving is a process in itself as it includes determining the cause of the problem, prioritising and finding the best possible solutions. Professionals with great problem-solving skills can quickly analyse the situation and identify effective solutions for problems. Effective problem-solving strategies may require neglecting irrelevant information and focusing on the problem, as it can help in saving time. You can use your problem-solving ability to devise effective solutions and share ideas with your team during meetings.


Self-management is the skill that allows professionals to control their emotions, thoughts and behaviours in stressful situations. Professionals with great self-management skills can understand their capacity to improve their workflow and productivity without direction from someone else. Working on your self-management skills can help in improving your overall performance at the workplace. Mastering self-management skills may require focusing on positivity, self-awareness, responsibility, productivity and stress management. Individuals with great self-management skills know how to manage these things, and it can help them be on track and succeed in their careers.


Gaining confidence in the workplace can give you a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with your job. With confidence, you may feel less anxious in the workplace. Confidence can help in learning and gaining experience from any situation professionals encounter at the workplace. Confident individuals usually have faith in their decision, and it allows them to take initiative in the workplace without any doubt in their minds. Confident professionals are eager to ask questions, explore beyond their limitations and ask for feedback after they complete a task.

Read more: How To Answer The Interview Question: “What Are Your Career Goals?” (With Examples)

How To Improve Initiative Skills

Improving the skills needed for taking initiative can help professionals move a step forward in their careers. These skills can help in building confidence, providing motivation and becoming more flexible. Here are some helpful ways to improve your skills:

1. Set goals

Setting goals can be a great way to improve your skills to take initiative in the workplace. It can allow you to focus more on your specific skills and work towards achieving those goals. Setting goals can also help in claiming the opportunity as soon as an initiative situation arises. Effective time management and tracking progress are also the benefits of setting goals.

2. Learn from others

Reviewing the work of other professionals can also help you learn how to take initiative. It helps you to build trust with other professionals and be open with everyone. Learning from others can be beneficial in many ways, such as developing a higher level of thinking, improving verbal communication skills and gaining motivation to work hard with a positive attitude. In addition, it may also help in building a strong company culture.

3. Practise regularly

Another way to improve these skills is by practising. Practise both your home and workplace to get the best results. A simple way to practise these skills at home is by demonstrating solutions to daily life problems. Write a list of different tasks and try explaining your views and solutions to them. With practice, you can develop confidence and the ability to provide effective responses to sudden challenges.

Read more: How To Answer "What Makes You Happy At Work?" Interview Question

Using Your Skills In The Workplace

Here are some ways you can take initiative in the workplace:

  • Communicating with colleagues: Communicating and listening to your colleagues can be a great way to gather the necessary information related to the task. Start a face-to-face conversation with your colleagues and give them the confidence to share more detailed views.

  • Overcoming challenges: Expecting challenges before they arrive can always help you prepare yourself to face challenges and find solutions. Initiation skills can help you analyse and overcome challenges by making a detailed plan and working on resolving them.

  • Researching: Doing research may provide you with the confidence to complete a task in a much more efficient way. By conducting detailed research, you can evaluate gathered information and find the best possible solution without affecting the overall progress of the project.

  • Helping other professionals: Learning how to take initiative can also help you assist other professionals and show your dedication to kindness. Try to help others by offering them tips and advice, without an employer asking you to do so.

Read more: How To Answer: "Why Do You Want This Job?" (With Examples)

How To Highlight Initiative Skills During A Job Search

Here are some effective ways you can highlight your skills during a job application process:

On a resume

Write your skills and ability to take initiative separately in the skills section of your resume. Doing research prior to applying for the job can help you extract some essential keywords. Write your initiation skills around these keywords, as it can help you save space on your resume and make you look suitable for the role. Highlight the most relevant initiation skills in a bulleted format that can catch the attention of the recruiter. Including keywords mentioned in the job description can portray you as the perfect candidate for the job for which you are applying. Here is an example of how you can highlight your ability to take the initiative in a resume:

Example: "Devised strategies to overcome marketing barriers and suggested some changes to make products customer-friendly."

Read more: 15 Necessary Customer Service Skills And How To Develop Them

During a job interview

During an interview, incorporating the skills you mentioned on your resume into your gestures and personality can help you get qualified. While answering personality-based questions, keep maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, as it may reflect your confidence. Being specific to your answer and showing your ability to take initiative can help you get through the interview round. Discuss any situations you encountered during your previous job where you took initiative and provided the best result. Explaining how you can use your skills to benefit the organisation can create a very positive impact on the recruiter.

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