As an employer, I am always looking for the right talent for my team, and one of the most important traits I look for in my employees is that they have a proactive approach to life and work. For me it is not only important that the people I work with are proactive, but also that their personal brands tell the people around them that they are proactive. So, why is this?
A proactive person takes initiative and asks herself “How can I do this?” rather than “Will I be able to do this?”. This might seem like a small difference, but let´s look at an example of how this can make a huge different:
Anna is working on a project and encounters some problems. If she is reactive she will in the best case turn to a colleague to get help to solve the problem in a way that has already been done, over and over again. If she is proactive, she could try to find a novel way to solve the problem, one that has never been tried before but might yield better results than the traditional method. If she still is in doubt, she might make a list of suggestion of which different ways one can approach the problem before presenting it to the colleague or manager and asking for advice.
A study by Time magazine found that employees on average just got 11 minutes of efficient work done before being distracted by an e-mail, phone call or verbal interruption from a manager or colleague. These interruptions counts for 2.1 hours of every working day, including the time to recover the train of thought following an interruption. According to the study, it took an average of 25 minutes to return to a task after being disturbed.
Another part of being proactive is anticipating a client’s needs before they even realize what exactly it is they need. An exceptional employee keeps her eye on industry trends, the calendar and the clients’ competitors to bring ideas or services to the client before they request them. Being proactive could also include imagining new ideas and solutions for the client, the co-workers and the managers.
As an employer that has my team working close to the clients, it is very important that we can anticipate and act (not react) to what will come, and also show that we are proactive people, taking responsibility for our work and the outcome of what we do.
Are you proactive, and do you communicate that you are responsible for the results and outcomes of your work?
His company, The Rynge Group specializes in market oriented small business and idea development, including social media strategies and implementations.