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How do I get people to take initiative and ownership 

By  Robbie MacCue

  • Do you take ownership or 100% responsibility? As a leader, we have to be an example to others, actions speak louder than words.
  • Give up control, i.e. making people do it “your” way or the “right way”. 
  • Ask more questions, get people’s input
  • See your #1 job is developing the people around you instead of getting them to do stuff. How will the task you are delegating enhance the skills/talents of the person?

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Full Video Transcript

Welcome to today's EMS leadership, Q & A. And today's question we have is how do I get people to take ownership and initiative? This is, this is such a great question that we are asked pretty often, and you've got to ask yourself, really people need to know why does it matter what you're trying to get them to take ownership of, right?

They need, they need some context as to why what you're talking about is important to them or how this affects them directly. And that will kind of hook their thinking and get them on the same page with you. And it also like to ask yourself, you'd ask yourself, is, do you take ownership or do you take a hundred percent responsibility in situations?

I mean, as a leader, we have to be an example for others to follow, right? Our actions speak so much louder than our words. Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and I think that sometimes things that seem self-evident to us are not to other people. So I think that first point you made is so important. And then the other thing is,

is I think a lot of times leaders, leaders, mistake ownership for control. So they aren't willing to give up control. They actually are looking for people to do it their way versus, or the right way, whatever that means to them. And they don't ask questions to get people's input. Like why, you know, what are other people's ideas?

One easy way to get people engaged is to ask them questions, ask for their opinion, but you have to be willing to give up control to do that. And I think the other thing is, is you have to be willing to see your number one job as a leader is to develop the people around you. Not to get them to do stuff.

It, ask yourself the question, how will delegating this task, enhance the skills or the talent of the person that you're delegating it to not just giving away the, you know, scrub work or just getting somebody to do something. So you have more time, but rather to think through how is this task going to enhance that person's ability? You know,

what's why is it important for this person to do that? Or why is it important to the organization? It can't be because I said so, right. Cause that doesn't engage any of us. And I think one thing that would really help people is to check out our blog because a lot of our blog posts a lot of the writing and articles that we've posted are about engagement because it's the number one question that we get really is ownership and initiative and,

and, and engagement. Really. Those are kind of interchangeable. So I think that if people go there and search the blog, they'll, they'll find some really good resources. All right. Excellent advice. Thanks Lisa. Thank you.

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Robbie MacCue


Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

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