Lesson 4 - Initiative

Teacher with student

Learning Goal: To understand initiative as a part of work ethic, to evaluate one's own initiative, and to learn to use initiative in appropriate and productive ways.


Initiative is a very important characteristic for information age workers. Direct supervision is often not a feature of the modern workplace. Without initiative, procrastination and missed opportunities can become a real problem. Sometimes poor performance results and leads to loss of a job, without any second chances.

Consider the salesperson who works out of a home office or the small business owner who works out of the house. If these people do not exercise initiative, there will probably not be anyone to say anything about it. As performance declines, however, the results will reflect what has been happening with the job.

Assignment 1:

Contemporary occupations are often divided into several categories for research purposes. These categories likely include the type of occupation you either have right now or are considering for the future. For each type of job, initiative plays an important role. Select the category which best represents your choice for a job and consider the situation described. Write responses to the questions provided and be prepared to talk about them in a small group.

Drive and effort are both components of initiative. Quite often we hear commentary about how naturally gifted someone is in sports, the arts, or in educational endeavors. Yet, no matter how gifted someone is, unless they work harder, longer, and smarter than their colleagues, they will not be the best. Being successful in the activities you participate in such as education, sports, extracurricular clubs, and work is highly dependent on your skills and your attitudes. However, the amount of drive and effort you put forth in each of these activities could make the difference between average performance and high performance.