“Leaders take initiative.” – Mark Miller

Initiative is defined as “the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do.”

In his book, The Heart of Leadership, Mark Miller couples “initiative” with “courage.”  He explains that leaders demonstrate their courage when they are willing to act before others do.

Most folks are naturally slow to take the first step. They see what should be done but they hold back on doing it because they aren’t sure if it’s safe to act.

They know what needs to be said but they hold their tongues because what needs to be said may cause disappointment or resistance.

Nevertheless, leaders aren’t like most people.  They have learned that no progress is made until someone takes initiative – “to act or take charge.”

Acting or taking charge is uncomfortable:

  • The first time you make a suggestion
  • The first time you lead a committee
  • The first time you ask someone out for a date
  • The first time you get on an airplane
  • The first time you play a sport
  • The first time you give a speech
  • The first time…. (You fill in the blank)

All those first times cause discomfort but many of them lead you to something better.  Those first times are “initiative.”

It takes courage to be one who takes initiative.  The more initiatives you take, the more ambitious the next opportunity to act will come.

What defines you as a leader is how often you take initiative.  Because most people hold back, those who take initiative are way fewer than those who do.

“If you only knew,” you would have taken more initiative.

Will you know now?  What initiative should you be taking?