How to Be a Self-Starter

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Master of Business Administration

Self-starters find solutions to problems and answers to questions on their own. They don’t wait for memos from their bosses or orders from supervisors. These professionals may get more opportunities for promotions or greater recognition from their employers. If you’re interested in becoming a self-starter, or helping someone develop this quality, discover the following strategies to help you chart the course.

Learn to Communicate Assertively

How to Be a Self-Starter
Image via Flickr by

The most accomplished self-starters may have more assertive communication styles. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, assertiveness can help you communicate more effectively and manage stress levels. As a result, you’ll make yourself heard without incurring unnecessary frustration.

The Mayo Clinic compares an assertive personality to a passive one. Assertive professionals don’t invite conflict, but they don’t turn away from conflict either. Passive individuals tend to stay silent even when they have something to say because they fear exposing themselves to others.

Becoming a self-starter might mean developing your assertive side. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you practice turning down opportunities that don’t fit your goals, maintain control over your emotions, and rehearse statements before you meet with others.

Nurture Your Entrepreneurial Drive

Many self-starters work for others, but they act like business owners. Writing for Forbes, leadership coach Dr. Steven Berglas recommends channeling your entrepreneurial drive. Find the aspects of your profession that ignite your passion and inspire you to work harder. Study new concepts, develop new ideas, and ask pertinent questions to help you become a self-starter.

Adopt the Cause as Your Own

Just as the entrepreneurial spirit can increase your engagement at work, a sense of ownership can motivate you to take more initiative. Leadership expert Anush Kostanyan notes that when you adopt your company’s or team’s cause as your own, you become partly responsible for its successes and its failures.

Take ownership at work or in your personal life to help you become more invested in the outcome of your efforts. You’ll work as part of a team, furthering the group’s goals and progress instead of only your own. Kostanyan also recommends voicing your ideas and putting forth more effort than others expect of you.

Ask Permission Only When Necessary

If you want to develop self-starter skills, learn when you should ask permission before you act. In the Harvard Business Review, HBR, Anne Morriss, Robin J. Ely, and Frances X. Frei agree that patience can keep you from making mistakes. However, patience can also hold you back from making a profound impact on the work you do.

Morriss, Ely, and Frei encourage readers to make changes without oversight if you find them necessary or beneficial. The most successful MBA-degree graduates might not start in the C-suite, but they reach that level because they developed leadership qualities early in their careers.

Encouraging self-starter qualities in yourself and in others can help create a leadership culture that allows all members of a team to work autonomously for the good of everyone on the team or in a company. The more you practice these self-starter skills, the more valuable you become to the people around you.