Getting employees to take initiative

Unless you are an extreme micro-manager, you want the employees you manage to be resourceful and not come to you with every little question. You want them to be motivated to resolve problems on their own. When it comes to employees taking initiative, ask yourself these questions:

• When a situation blows up, do your employees run toward the fire or away from it?
• Do they use the tools available to them to handle problems without coming to you for help every time?
• Do they bring potential problems or trends to the attention of those who should be in the know?

Our client, Infratactix, is very proud of their support team and of how they have developed as a cohesive group of caring, motivated and responsible employees. Recently, Don Schultz, the founder and CTO of Infratactix, shared this story with us about his team. “They noticed an increase in workload and that they didn’t have any support available to assist them. So, they adapted on the spot by changing their normal processes and worked together to become super-efficient. Their energy level and engagement went up as they came together to set up an environment to quickly address everyone’s issues. All without error and without wasting any time.”

Of course, the team at Infratactix had to learn how to work together and build trust to get to this point. By conducting daily ticket review meetings and creating an environment where collaboration and creative thinking are encouraged, they have become the highly functioning team they are today.

If you want to have a team that automatically takes initiative you must create a safe environment where it’s ok to make mistakes. It can be frustrating as your team learns to find better ways to trouble shoot and resolve issues but we often learn best through failure. As Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail. I just found 1,000 ways that didn’t work.”

The best way to get your employees to learn to take initiative is to foist it upon them, in small and manageable doses at first. You never know what someone is capable of until you challenge them. Give them a project you know they have interest in and let them run with it. As the leader, you must be the example to them. Share with them new approaches you are taking in your work.

Over the past year of running the operations at Infratactix, the team has really gelled into a cohesive team that thinks outside the box. They have taken to heart our philosophy that, “we are all in the business of customer service”. This has resulted in the ticket count consistently being at a minimum and customer satisfaction at an all-time high.

At Your Remote COO, we take the team you have put together and help them focus on the vision and philosophies of the business owner. Even when things are going crazy, we provide the tools and leadership for your staff to handle it all without breaking a sweat. Click here for a free 1-hour consultation to learn how a few tweaks can help your team perform better.

To your success!


Loree Selbst is a Partner in Your Remote COO. She is a leader who has a passion and expertise for identifying the strengths in others and helping them achieve success. Over the course of her career, she has succeeded in accomplishing more effective ways to optimize operational efficiencies. Loree is Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certified with a reputation for building strong teams focused on quality and exceptional customer service.