Understanding proactivity

Understanding proactivity Understanding proactivity Understanding proactivity Understanding proactivity

You might have already experienced ways to be proactive through work experience or a job. Whether you’re applying or already in work, it’s your opportunity to showcase this key skill to employers.

What is it?

Being proactive means taking the initiative to make things happen – as opposed to reactive, where you respond to things that happen around you. You’re being proactive right now – taking an interest in the skills you’ll need at work and seeking out ways in which to develop them.  

Why is it important?

Proactivity proves to current and prospective employers that you’re keen to make a difference, not only to your own career but to the organisation for which you work. It sets you apart from your colleagues and creates opportunities; as you’re seen as someone who is enthusiastic, thinks ahead and not only anticipates what needs doing, but gets things done. There are also varying degrees of proactivity; from an act as simple as repositioning a doormat to stop people from tripping up, to suggesting a new process or system to your manager in order to improve effectiveness.

What’s an example?

You’ve been in your role for over a year and have a pretty good idea of how things are done – along with some things that are done badly. For example, with no proper system in place to handle stock deliveries, Monday morning sees the week’s supplies piled up in whatever space is available at the main entrance. This restricts movement, delays deliveries and prevents others from getting their work done. Being proactive, you analyse stock usage throughout the week and figure out that not all deliveries need to arrive Monday morning. You draw up a new delivery schedule and also identify members of staff who can clear and distribute stock when it arrives. You run it past your manager to get input and approval. She loves it, praises your initiative and gives you the go-ahead to implement the new procedure.

Whether you’re office-based or on-site, in the city or the country, proactivity is a skill relevant to any job. Click here to discover how you use it in your workplace and put it into action with our practical exercise.