3 Ways to Coach Your Team to Take More Initiative


“There’s two types of people in this world.” my friend Jane explained, “Clickers and non-clickers”.


She was describing the way that administrative employees tend to work.  They either click buttons on the computer to figure out a way to make progress, or they don’t - they sit back and ask for help.

In your business, you probably call clickers “Problem Solvers”.  And we’d probably agree to describe them as people who are not afraid to use Google, people who go above and beyond, people who keep their eyes open for opportunities, and people who have a helpful attitude.   

So, can you train someone to be a clicker?  

I believe the right person could be coached to take more initiative. Here’s how:


1. Give Them Permission 

Especially when someone is new, let them know it’s okay to look around for answers.  They may fear that it will take too long to learn or fear that they might click something that deletes everything forever.
Most of the time this isn’t the case.
Frequently remind them of that.
And recognize them with praise when they show initiative. 

2. Ask Don’t Tell 

As leaders, we know the most effective way to lead is to ask great questions.  When faced with a challenge that someone brings to you, try the technique of starting broad and getting specific. 
  • What’s the end goal? 
  • What tools and resources do you have to get there?
  • What’s the first step you’d need to take?
  • What’s the next step after that?
  • Then what?
If you fix the problem for them every time, you’ll deprive them of the ability to learn and think for themselves. 

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Silent 

Last week one of my teammates asked me a question about how I wanted something done.  I re-read the instructions that I gave her initially, and realized that the answer was within there, she just needed to take a few extra steps to figure out the process of making it happen. 
I quickly let her know that I was away from my desk for the day and if she still needed help tomorrow I’d get back to her.  Within 10 minutes she had the project completed and didn’t need my help. 

Teammates who click make your job easier.  With as hard as it is to find good people these days, taking extra time to do these few easy steps could go a long way in developing the people around you. 

Who needs you at your best this week? 

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