1. There is a prevailing myth that employees can’t be trusted with sensitive information; the risk is they may pass this information on to inappropriate sources.
2. The initiative paradox is a misunderstanding, due to a lack of communication between management and employees, that results in limiting enterprising behavior from employees.
3. The first of four ways of resolving the initiative paradox is goal alignment, which brings into line the perspectives of employees and management.
4. Some practical measures leaders can take to align the goals of employees and employers are: putting in place a clearly-defined performance bonus system to reward and encourage alignment; managers setting an example or walking the talk; consistent informal dialogue between managers and team members; and performance feedback conversations that focus on aligning individual and organization goals.
5. Boundary refinement is a second way of overcoming the initiative paradox. This involves carefully communicating the kind of initiative the leader expects and doesn’t expect.
6. Some practical measures that can be taken to communicate boundaries for displaying proper initiatives are: using critical incidents in the business to illustrate and clarify boundaries for proactive behavior; coaching and mentoring employees in their work; documenting acceptable and unacceptable forms of initiative; and rewarding and reinforcing appropriate initiative.
7. Sharing information is the third strategy in overcoming the initiative paradox. This strategy concentrates on minimizing unshared expectations between employer and employee.
8. Some key steps you can take to share information include: holding annual strategic planning days; staging continuous improvement workshops; facilitating group problem-solving sessions; and running regular team discussion meetings.
9. Active accountability is the fourth and final way to deal with the initiative paradox; it involves an understanding between the manager and employee that initiative and judgment can be exercised, but only at the risk to the employee.
10. Some circumstances where active accountability may be considered an appropriate communication strategy are: conducting workplace investigations; showing initiative against unethical behavior; reporting unlawful behavior; and crisis management.
1. Kristy. (2015). Case study: Tapping into employee knowledge as the engine for growth. https://www.thinkbusinessservices.com.au/case-study-tapping- into-employee-knowledge-as-the-engine-for-growth/
2. Campbell, D.J. (2000). The proactive employee: Managingworkplace initiative. Academy of Management Executive, 14 (3), 52—66.