- February 19, 2020
- Posted by: Finito Team
- Category: Careers, Future of Work, Tips
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little bit jittery about the future. Those who would like to be work-ready need to take a lot into consideration; robotic technology, urbanisation and biotech are developing factors all set to change the way we work, and the skills we need to do a good job – and it’s all a bit difficult to predict.
We don’t want to be all doom-y about it, though. For all the click-bait screaming that AI is coming for our jobs and there’s nothing we can do about it, there are plenty of level-headed experts identifying the skills we’re most likely to need in the future. Following on from the last installment, in which we explored the business applications of improvisation, we’re going to examine some of those skills, discover the ways you can start developing them, and hopefully get everyone one step closer to being future-ready.
Soft Skill #3 – Initiative
Victor Hugo said that taking initiative is “doing the right thing without being told,” and as definitions go, he basically knocked it out of the park. Initiative is all about spotting the things that need to be done, and then actually getting up to do them. Needless to say, it’s one of the most sought after soft-skills in the business world, and taking the time to build the habit of taking initiative will do wonders for your personal brand.
It’s possible to split a workforce into two groups. Those who wait to be told to do something by their boss are called ‘reactive’ workers. They won’t do something unless it’s been pointed out by someone else. The other group – the ‘proactive’ workers – are the ones who do the pointing, and often they’re the ones who actually do something about the problem, too.
There is nothing wrong with being a reactive worker. Every team needs reactive workers in order to get things done. But if you want to distinguish yourself from the robots, being able to show initiative is a very smart move. Employers want employees who can think for themselves, and direct their own growth within their role. Proactive workers can help businesses get ahead of the competition by coming up with (and pursuing) exciting ideas.
So, what can you do today in order to develop the mindset necessary to take initiative and become a proactive professional?
Above and Beyond
You can accomplish every task you’re given by your boss – on time, and perfectly, and still be overlooked when the time comes for promotion. Doing what you’re paid to do is really important for obvious reasons, but you’re paid to do it – so don’t expect a parade, or you’ll incite a generational war. If you want to catch the eye of the powers that be, try identifying areas where you’ll be able to contribute something beyond your job description, and talk to your manager about taking on a few more responsibilities. As long as these small tasks don’t affect your regular duties, you’ll find yourself receiving a lot of positive attention from the higher-ups. This is especially true if the task you’re taking on is one that your colleagues don’t like doing – or have done badly in the past. The logic is simple – if you want your boss to value you, make yourself valuable.
Join the Family
This one seems quite obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people shy away from communicating with their colleagues. The employees who arrive at work and sit at their desk all day quietly getting on with things might be seen as productive, but they’re missing out on opportunities to connect with the people they work with – and that’s always a bad idea. Conversations over the coffee machine can offer you insight into your industry, reveal secrets and helpful tips that might come in useful later, and generally make you feel more confident in the office environment. You spend most of your week with these people – you don’t have to become best friends with them, but you can start by resisting the urge to pull out your phone, and asking Janet in accounts a few friendly questions instead. She’ll appreciate it. She’s so lonely.
Do Your Homework
So, you’ve got a great idea. It’s brilliant. It’s going to completely revolutionise the office. It’s probably going to disrupt the industry. You’ll be named as the most innovative junior in the history of business. But before you share it with the team, sit with it for a few minutes. Think about the costs and risks that might arise. Coming up with solutions for problems is a great way to show initiative – but you might receive some eye-rolls from management if your grand plan would bankrupt the company or alienate a loyal demographic in pursuit of a new one. Doing a bit of homework before you pitch to your boss is a clever way to go – because when they ask you the important questions, you want to have the right answers at your fingertips.
For more advice on how to get work-ready, take a look through the previous installments in this series and discover how The Employability Experts can help you take your career to the next level.