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Taking the Initiative

As a leader, you have two "areas" that you really need to please: your boss and your subordinates. Leaders must remember that they work for two entities: those that they serve under, and those that they serve. 

These two areas require you to act under responsibility to both; and they differ in what you need to focus on. Consider these two essential principles: 

  • As a subordinate, you need to: 

    • Do what your boss tells you. 

    • Act promptly and responsively to what your boss asks of you. 

    • Take responsibility for your own work. 

As a subordinate...

1.  Listen to your boss. 

Pay attention to what your boss is asking you to do. Have a clear understanding of what you are being tasked with. 

2.  Take immediate action. 

Do what you have been asked to do. Do it promptly and correctly. 

3.  Create your to-do list. 

Go back and review what needs to be accomplished over the next few days or over the next week to complete your tasks. Get the job done. 

Click to access a PDF copy of the Personal Accountability Worksheet.


  • As a supervisor (or superior), you need to:

    • Seek out the feedback of everyone around you. 

    • Look for ways that you can step up and assist—without being asked first. 

    • Be sure that your own boss is aware of what you are up to and approves of your activities. 

As a leader...

1.  Listen to your peers. 

Pay attention to what everyone is saying. This includes those higher, those subordinate, and those lateral to you.

2.  Reflect on feedback.

Consider what you are hearing. Think about what you could do to change the situation. 

3.  Take the initiative. 

Work with your peers to come up with a plan of action. Go back to your boss and present your plan. 

Click to access a PDF copy of the Leader Initiative Worksheet.


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