Teams need a kick in the pants from time to time. Whether you’re leading an organization, a department, or just a single project, you’ll need a little inspiration to get your team working at peak performance. Initiative is a key factor in creating an environment that fosters innovation. When team members feel empowered to take risks and make decisions, they’re more likely to develop new ideas and solutions for problems. And when everyone on the team takes initiative, you start seeing results sooner rather than later. Your challenge might be getting your team to work together as effectively as possible; if so, check out these five ways to inspire initiative in your group, so everyone feels like they have a voice and are making an impact.
1. Don’t micromanage – let people make decisions
Do you tend to make all the decisions yourself? Do you find yourself constantly checking in with your team members to ensure their correct decisions? If so, you might be micromanaging your team members. But even if you’re not micromanaging, you must let people make decisions. When you allow people to make decisions, they’re less likely to second-guess themselves and more likely to make decisions quickly. Team members who make decisions tend to be more engaged, enthusiastic, and productive.
2. Embrace diversity and give everyone a voice
It is so important to embrace diversity on your team. Everyone has valuable insights and ideas that can help your team be more effective. When people feel comfortable contributing their thoughts, they’re more likely to contribute something new and valuable. And when people feel comfortable speaking up, they’re more likely to feel like they have a voice on the team. To foster a culture of diversity, you can start by creating an open environment where people feel comfortable contributing their thoughts and ideas. This might mean eliminating silos, creating a more open culture, or setting aside time each day for everyone to share their thoughts.
3. Create a culture of collaboration
Collaboration is essential to innovation, but it’s also vital to effectiveness. When people don’t feel comfortable collaborating, they tend to focus on tasks, not the work as a whole. And when people don’t feel like they have a voice on the team, they tend to feel powerless. To create a culture of collaboration, start by cultivating an open environment where people feel comfortable collaborating.
4. Encourage risk-taking
Team members need to feel comfortable
taking risks. Most leaders struggle to understand why people won’t take risks to innovate. The reality is people have heard enough stories where someone’s attempt at trying something new didn’t go well – and people tend to have long memories.
5. Teach by showing
Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members.
When you lead by example, you don’t just push team members toward excellence but actively demonstrate that excellence. Leading by example is the difference between saying, “You can do this” and “We can do this together.” Though the support and encouragement in the former is great, the latter builds connection, camaraderie, and trust.
People who lead by example actively demonstrate that they value their team’s work by carrying some of the weight themselves. This leadership style fosters high levels of engagement and buy-in because leaders actively show that they’re invested in their team’s initiatives.
Initiative is a critical factor in creating an environment that fosters innovation. When team members feel empowered to take risks and make decisions, they’re more likely to develop new ideas and solutions for problems.