16 Words for Someone Who Takes Initiative

If you’re unsure what to call a person who takes initiative using just a single term or phrase, we’re here to assist you!

Below, you’ll find a list of great synonyms that describe a person who takes initiative. You can use many of these words in formal and professional circumstances to boot!

Words for Someone Who Takes Initiative

  • Proactive
  • Enterprising
  • Self-starter
  • Johnny-on-the-spot
  • Initiator
  • Go-getter
  • Reliable
  • Dedicated
  • Ever-ready
  • Resourceful
  • Problem-solver
  • Driven
  • Ambitious
  • Conscientious
  • Doer
  • High achiever


  • “Proactive” is a good synonym for someone who takes initiative, and you can use it in professional settings.
  • A good business synonym for someone who takes initiative is to call them “enterprising.”
  • A “self-starter” is literally defined as someone who takes initiative, and it is a good term to use in less formal circumstances.

Keep reading to see how we use our top three synonyms for a person who takes initiative in a couple of useful example sentences.

In addition, we’ll explain and define each of our choices in detail.


Proactive is a good word to describe someone who takes initiative. According to Merriam-Webster, this term means “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”

Firstly, a person who takes the initiative will usually assess the situation they’re in and take active steps in response. Therefore, “proactive” is a great synonym for describing this quality.

Secondly, you could use the term “proactive” to describe yourself in your resume or to describe a colleague in a workplace scenario. In other words, this term is professional and suitable to use in formal circumstances.

Finally, let’s see a couple of example sentences making use of this word:

My best quality is that I am highly proactive, and I think this would be a strong competitor if I were selected.

Cole is a very proactive intern who always takes the lead.


According to Merriam-Webster, an enterprising person is “marked by an independent, energetic spirit and by readiness to act.” Thus, this term is another word for someone who takes action and, in turn, initiative.

Firstly, it is a fairly formal phrase and can certainly be used to describe someone in professional circumstances.

In fact, it contains the word “enterprise” which is a hint at the business-like quality of this particular synonym. In general, you will hear this phrase in business contexts where people are being urged to recognize business opportunities and make the most of them.

Therefore, let’s see how you might use this phase in some example sentences:

She is one of our most enterprising young journalists, and I think you’ll find she’s more than capable of carrying out this task.

It is essential to stand out and be as enterprising as possible to make it in this firm.


The best example of how to describe someone who takes initiative is the word “self-starter.”

Firstly, Merriam-Webster defines a self-starter as “a person who takes initiative.” This makes it the most direct and literal synonym on our list.

Secondly, most people would consider this phrase more informal than some of the others. However, you can still use it in professional settings, especially if you have a friendly dynamic with your colleagues.

In short, a “self-starter” is a highly motivated person who can take control of situations and get things started without direction. If you think this term describes you, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to include it on your resume.

Finally, let’s see this phrase in action in a few example sentences:

It’s always great to work with joy – she’s a real self-starter!

It would be a good idea to point out in your cover letter that you are a self-starter that works well both in a team and independently.