Initiative is all-important. A hierarchical organization with diffused accountability and a lack of initiative is little more than a house of cards.
Leaders can’t be afraid to take charge. Mistakes will come with the territory. The important thing is pulling together the right people for your team and creating a “bias for action” within your organization.
The fundamental building blocks for any strategy or task are mission and intent. If team members who find themselves at a decision point really understand mission and intent, they will instinctively know the right answer. They will then act instead of react, and not waste precious time seeking permission when action can be taken immediately to achieve the company’s objectives.
A good leader confronts the facts head-on. You may not always want to hear bad news but, if you ignore it, your organization will suffer. Never shoot the messenger, as it only encourages team members to not alert you to problems. Instead, react in a calm and measured manner. The first report is often incomplete, if not wrong, and more information should develop as you go along. Sometimes the issue isn’t as bad as anticipated and only requires a small fix.
Never be afraid to answer the call to action. As President Harry S. Truman once said, “Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”