Empowering and Proactive Employees

At work, there are those employees who wait for instructions before doing anything. However, there are those at work who are proactive.

Proactive employees are those who are proactive rather than reactive. To put it another way, they don’t just sit around waiting for something to happen. Instead, they go out and make things happen.

Let’s go through proactive employee attributes and how proactive employees can be fostered in the workplace.

Proactive Employee Characteristics

Jim is a proactive employee. How do we know this? He clearly demonstrates several characteristics that are cornerstones of proactive individuals. Jim is able to be and do the following:

  • He is capable of making long-term plans. For example, he considers what he can do tomorrow to complete his work efficiently. He even has a to-do list that tells him exactly what he needs to do without requiring supervision.
  • He’s in a relationship. Jim isn’t one to sit around and watch what other people do. He takes initiative to complete a task on his own.
  • He sees things ahead of time. Jim has the ability to foresee events before they occur. That’s because he pays attention to what’s going on around him and uses his imagination to come up with scenarios that fit his observations.
  • He is the one who prevents it. Jim spends a lot of time thinking about potential difficulties and what he can do now to avoid them in the future.
  • He’s a doer. In other words, Jim is by no means a procrastinator. He takes immediate action to do what needs to be done. He holds himself accountable for his own actions (or lack thereof).

Proactive Employee Skills Building

As a result, Jim is a very valuable employee. Isn’t it great if everyone was like him? Proactivity, on the other hand, is a skill that can be honed. Managers may teach their employees how to approach problems and fix them before they become a problem.

Here are some suggestions for how managers and other leaders might contribute to the development of these talents in the workplace.

Don’t micromanage and don’t be an authoritarian. Instead, be adaptable and trustworthy. This encourages people to take charge of their own lives. People that are proactive make the decision to take action. This is not the same as being forced to do anything.

People who are micromanaged or who are authoritative in general are forced to do something rather than choose to do it. Proactive people believe they have a choice, and they own that option because they made it.

Another way to encourage initiative is to conduct an invention day on a regular basis.

Allow your employees to be proactive for a set period of time during the week. Encourage them to think about how they can tackle previous problems on their own during this time.

Most individuals desire to take greater control of their life, whether it’s at work, in their relationships, or in their health. However, many people will tell you that putting this into reality is tough.

With the rise of remote work and the additional issues faced by both employees and employers during the COVID-19 epidemic, proactive employees and overall employee productivity have become a concern.

However, some organizations have discovered that productivity has increased as a result of fewer workplace distractions, breaks, and sick days that were once a part of a standard office employee’s day.

According to a recent survey of hiring managers on remote work during the coronavirus, “32% saw an improvement in productivity among their staff during COVID-19.”

How being proactive at work benefits your business

Employees who are proactive are known as self-motivated problem solvers who actively seek out new opportunities. It not only achieves results when individuals feel trusted and encouraged at work, but it also leads to improved engagement and productivity.

Encourage your staff to be proactive at work, and both your people and your company will profit. Employees that are proactive can increase production and efficiency.

“Proactivity drives team and organization success and creativity, as well as individual well-being and career advancement,” according to research. “People who are proactive use their initiative at work to help create a better future.”

How to motivate employees as a manager

Here are five ways to help employees be proactive at work — and help you learn how to motivate employees as a manager:

1. Create a culture of trust and empowerment

Managers must make it clear that they value initiative and autonomy just as much as teamwork.
Higher degrees of organizational commitment, intention to stay with the company and active interest in the organization’s well-being have all been connected to an employee’s trust.

Encouraging employees to come forward with ideas, trusting them to make decisions, asking them to do more in their roles, and allowing them to take minimal risks are all terrific ways to exhibit this.

If someone offers a brilliant idea, encourage them to pursue it — and make sure their efforts are acknowledged, whether they succeed or fail. 

2. Motivate employees with an idea challenge

Consider some of your company’s challenges, such as lowering healthcare expenditures or growing sales. Open the floor to employees through an Idea Challenge instead of brainstorming ideas in a conference room.

Be open and honest about the problem and what has to be accomplished. Reward the top five ideas, but the best one into action, and give the finalists recognition by sharing with leadership or sending an email to the entire organization.

3. Encourage flexible work schedules

Let’s face it: you can try to help employees with work-life balance by delivering a time management class, but most people simply need more time. A 9-to-5 day may not be ideal for everyone, especially currently, and some people are more effective working from home.

When you focus on results and give people the freedom to work the way they need to, they become much more proactive at work.

4. Implement a “Solutions Only” policy

In Steven Covey’s international hit “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” the first habit is to be proactive. It implies taking responsibility and being solution-oriented, according to Covey.

Encourage this at work by encouraging employees to report an issue along with a solution suggestion.

5. Reward proactive healthy behaviors

Employees who are in good health are more engaged, productive, and, yes, proactive. However, this requires them to be equally proactive when it comes to their health. Employees who feel better about themselves are more likely to be interested in their work and feel supported by their employers.

Here are a few ways you may promote well-being in the workplace, from leading by example to taking mindfulness breaks.

Benefits of Being Proactive

You may probably predict what the advantages of being proactive are now. They are the polar opposite of the previously described reactive employee. Whether or not they were asked, a proactive employee looks for ways to get things done.

Going above and above to complete projects and complete work is a terrific approach to be noticed by your superiors. Just be careful not to step on anyone’s toes or work outside of the lines.

It’s critical to have an understanding of what you can handle on your own and when you should seek permission.

Most proactive employees also understand that career advancement is in their best interests. This entails looking for ways to improve on a regular basis. Attending seminars, workshops, and subscribing to professional journals are all excellent ways to do so.

Taking such action demonstrates your willingness to gain new skills and adapt to new difficulties and responsibilities. Managers recognize that proactive employees are always valuable team members, and they will work harder to keep you on the team. This could be in the shape of a pay increase, a promotion, a new work title, or a better location.

Finally, find the proper mix of proactive and reactive behavior that works best for you. If you don’t have a burning desire to improve, at the very least finish your work ahead of schedule. It’s not necessary to go all out.

For starters, you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself. You also don’t want to appear overly enthusiastic and make anyone nervous. Find a work-life balance that suits you and strive to be the best employee you can be!


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