Many people are still not clear about what it is to be proactive, despite the fact that it is a skill that is currently in high demand by companies. If this is your case, then we invite you to continue reading this article to learn more about it.
Anyone looking for new job opportunities should know what it means to be proactive so that they can develop this skill and include it in their professional profile. this way recruiters will be more interested in your resume!
If this topic is new to you, don’t worry! In the following article we will tell you everything you need to know about what it is to be proactive and what steps you can apply to start being a proactive person.
what is being proactive?
Proactivity is a human trait that goes far beyond initiative and commitment. It also implies acquiring a responsible attitude towards the decisions you make and analyzing situations from different angles to prevent future problems.
So, what does it mean to be proactive? In short, it means having the ability to anticipate problems that may occur and to exercise the necessary attitudes to prevent them from occurring.
Also, proactive people do not sit back and wait for something to happen, but take the first step to make things happen. They take full control over their behavior and can make good decisions in adverse situations or under great pressure.
Being a proactive person also implies being change-oriented. That is, when something doesn’t seem right, instead of having a defeatist attitude, they try to make constructive changes to improve the situation.
Now that you know what it means to be proactive, you will realize why it is such a sought-after quality in organizations. Later, we will tell you how to be a proactive person to succeed in the professional world.
Proactive vs. Reactive
After explaining what it is to be proactive, let’s delve a little deeper into the different personality traits and how it has an impact on the work style a person has.
People who work within the human talent area, usually highlight the qualities of proactive people, while they consider having a reactive attitude as something negative.
The Hire Success portal, which specializes in employability issues, offers a general profile of proactive workers and reactive workers. Below, we will detail each of these traits to identify which work style you have.
what is it like to be reactive at work?
A reactive person waits for things to happen before taking action. However, after the fact, they may work quickly and flexibly. Some signs of the reactive personality are:
They wait for problems to occur before they take action.
When trouble occurs, reactive people act quickly to control it.
They can handle stressful situations well.
Reactive people can work well under pressure and exercise good judgment on the fly.
Some reactive workers may have difficulty keeping abreast of the latest developments and are constantly trying to catch up.
what is being proactive at work?
On the other hand, proactive workers are always focused on making things happen. They focus on a specific goal and maneuver so that the desired outcome can be achieved. Some traits of proactive people at work are:
Being a proactive worker involves asking questions, suggesting ideas, and commenting on different aspects beyond their daily duties.
They can anticipate potential problems and work hard to solve underlying problems before they start.
They cannot exercise a bystander position.
Proactives have the ability to influence others to get the result they want.
People around them may be a bit frustrated by their high level of determination.
what are the characteristics of a proactive person?
In order for you to understand perfectly what it means to be proactive, we will mention the traits that individuals with this type of personality tend to have.
The Psychology-Online portal, a platform that addresses issues related to the study of human behavior, indicates that the main characteristics of proactive people are the following.
1. They have self-knowledge
Someone who is proactive has a deep self-knowledge. This implies knowing how to identify their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can develop effective strategies that allow them to improve these latter traits.
2. They make use of assertiveness
Communication is something very important for a person who is proactive, so they know how to interact with their peers and have good relationships with them. Thus, by making use of assertive communication techniques, they can get what they need from others.
3. They put their creativity into practice
Creativity is a fundamental element to solve problems, that is why proactive people are in charge of strengthening their most creative side by proposing innovative ideas that allow them to obtain results that exceed initial expectations.
4. Their locus of control is internal
A trait of the proactive person is that they take responsibility for what happens to them. This means that, instead of blaming others, they seek a solution by modifying their own behavior or by preventing the situation from affecting them in any significant way.
5. They are always focused
Another characteristic of proactive people is that they try to be focused on work and not on unimportant aspects, such as gossip or complaints. In this way, they use all their resources to seek solutions and optimize results.
6. They are very responsible
People with a proactive attitude are responsible with their work and, when they make mistakes, they learn from their failures and use them as a means of learning not to make the same mistake again.
7. They take care of their circle of influence
Being proactive also means having good relationships with those around you. This way, when you need help from someone, there will be many people willing to collaborate with you.
8. Have self-control
Emotional self-control is a characteristic of proactive people, who do not let themselves be dominated by their emotions, especially in situations of great pressure or stress. Thus, they avoid reacting impulsively and can always keep their composure.
9. They are dynamic
A proactive person is always looking for new alternatives to help them achieve their goals. They are very energetic, enterprising and always try to generate new ideas.
10. They have a vision for the future
A fundamental part of being proactive is having the ability to anticipate problems or difficulties that may arise. They also evaluate how their actions can have a long-term impact.
how to be a proactive person?
Now that you know what it is to be proactive and what qualities this type of person has, it’s time to learn how to cultivate them. Here are 5 ways to develop proactivity.
1. Focus on finding solutions
Stop being the type of person who spends his time complaining about everything he doesn’t like. Instead, be proactive and focus your energy on assessing the situation, gathering information and formulating the right solutions to the problem at hand.
Nowadays, organizations avoid having workers who are mortified by any difficulty, no matter how small. That’s why proactive people are in high demand, because instead of bemoaning mistakes or failures, they look ahead to find a way to fix the situation.
2. Set SMART objectives
A characteristic of proactive people is to focus on the fulfillment of objectives. Manuel Nevárez, teacher of the Strategic Thinking online course, points out that the best way to set your objectives is under the SMART modality, which implies the fulfillment of the following criteria:
Be specific: to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.
Be measurable: to know if you are on the right track.
Be achievable: there must be a balance between ambition and reach so that you feel motivated to reach the goal.
Relevant: so you can understand why you should reach the goal.
Have a specific time frame: so that the goal does not drag on for too long and to have an indicator that allows us to know if we should change the goal.
3. Surround yourself with the right people
The secret for proactive people to stay motivated and energetic is to surround themselves with people who share the same desire to strive for success. If you surround yourself with lazy people and negative thinking, they can influence your desire to get things done.
Jim Rohn, a well-known motivational speaker, says that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If this is true, it is best to try to hang out with people who are proactive and can inspire you to achieve your personal goals.
4. Be more organized
Someone who is proactive usually has a daily routine that helps them accomplish all their activities. That is why, if you want to develop this quality, you need to start by making a work agenda that helps you to be more organized and optimize your time management.
It is also important that you can organize your work space and remove all the distracting elements that may keep you from achieving your goals. A clean and well-structured environment will make it easier for you to be proactive.
5. Be responsible
A proactive person is not perfect, they can also make mistakes. The difference is that they assume the consequences of their actions and look for ways to find a solution. Likewise, they are also aware that they are the only ones responsible for their own life.
If you want to be a proactive person, it is important that you start acting in a more responsible and independent way. Know and assume the consequences of what you say and what you do.
how to develop proactivity at work?
A proactive worker is always going to have open doors in the job market. That is why you should learn how to implement proactivity in your workplace. Below, we will mention the strategies you can apply.
1. Prioritize your pending tasks
Someone who is proactive can differentiate between what is urgent and what is important. When you have many things to do, it is important to prioritize your tasks to avoid possible problems. Likewise, you can apply deadlines for each task that needs to be accomplished.
2. Adapt to changes
In any job, changes are constant. A proactive person has the ability to easily adapt to these variations that arise from one moment to the next and maintain their productivity. To become a more flexible person, we recommend strengthening your creative and problem-solving skills.
3. Create a list of your daily activities
To be proactive at work, it is important to be well organized. That is why we recommend that you create a list of daily tasks so that you can plan your day at work. This way, you will be able to keep track of your progress and avoid overlooking any pending tasks.
4. Get in touch with your co-workers
A fundamental part of being proactive is the ability to relate to others. In order to develop this skill at work, we advise you to have a collaborative attitude with your colleagues, be respectful when speaking and transmit good energy and enthusiasm.
5. Communicate your progress
A proactive worker makes the right decisions and solves problems on time. The key to do that is to communicate to your boss, your team or your client, the progress you are making in the execution of a project. That way, you’ll be able to catch mistakes early and prevent them from escalating.
We hope this article has helped you understand what it means to be proactive. Remember that it is one of the qualities that recruiters usually look for in applicants, so do not hesitate to include it in your resume.