Good Habits #4: Take the Initiative

By | July 22, 2014

[July 22, 2014] As I progressed through the military ranks, I was always both surprised and amazed those senior officers 2 or 3 ranks above me always seemed to ahead of my peers and me. To us it was like they were intellectually superior and were able to predict the future. It turns out that they were like that because they would consistently take the initiative on important matters. This is hardly a trivial issue. Senior leaders are able to be repeatedly proactive on critical matters. This is what sets them apart from everyone else.

Senior LeadershipTaking the initiative means two things. First, the leader must have the experience and intellect to recognize that their personal involvement can make a difference. Those decisions they make are the key factors in their success in life and in all they do. Further, those decisions should align with their core values and the organizational mission. This makes it appear that they can foretell the future.

Second, leaders take responsibility for their decisions, the choices they make, and the consequences that follow. This is an unusual trait in a society that frowns upon taking responsibility. People in America are prone to blaming external factors like childhood poverty or racism/sexism/ageism instead of their own actions. Many are willing to take credit for what goes right but not for what goes wrong. A politician I briefly worked for once told me that he would “take credit for everything that goes right and blame you for everything that goes wrong.”

To have the desire and passion to take the initiative sets the most successful senior leaders apart from everyone else. Only the best leaders have the foresight, the ability, and the resourcefulness to carry through on their decisions.

Tomorrow the “good habit” will be “effective use of time.”

[Don’t forget to “Like” the Leader Maker at our Facebook Page.]


Good Habits #1: Never Assume Anything:

Good Habits #2: Walk Around and Talk with People:

Good Habits #3: Read Mission-Related Material:


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.