Too Gung Ho: When Does Initiative Cross the Line?

Gung-Ho-Carrying-the-flag-for-your-idea-LAURA STACKWhile I’ve always stressed the importance of taking initiative and owning your job, I’ll bet there have been times when you’ve faced trouble for trying to do just that. Most managers and authority figures say they want initiative, and the majority really do. But the fact remains: some aren’t as keen about it as they claim—especially when you color outside the lines. If you take too much initiative, you can become a bother, break their process, or run afoul of micro-managers.

“Employers and business leaders need people who can think for themselves — who can take initiative and be the solution to problems.” — Steven Covey, American business writer.

Ultimately, how much initiative you should take at work depends on a number of factors. So before you weigh in on something or just jump in willy-nilly, keep these things in mind:

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Laura Stack

Laura Stack

Laura Stack is America's premier expert in personal productivity. For over 20 years, her speeches and seminars have helped professionals, leaders, teams, and organizations improve output, execute efficiently, and save time at work. She's the author or coauthor of 10 books, most recently, What to Do When There's Too Much to Do. To invite Laura to speak at your next meeting or register for her free weekly newsletter, visit

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