Proactivity, as defined by Organizational Behavior, is behavior that is “anticipatory, change-oriented, and self-initiated behavior in situations, rather than just reacting." Related: 10 Habits To Energize Your Workday When a person is proactive, they are acting in advance of a future event. Proactive employees typically don't need to be asked to do something, and will usually require less detailed instructions.
Organizational Citizen BehaviorProactive Behavior is applicable to either ones own role, or to 'extra role' responsibilities. Within ones own role, for example, a person may find a more efficient way to complete one or more of their responsibilities. Extra role responsibilities (i.e., those tasks outside of your stated job description) speak to an employee's organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The proactive employee would, for example, initiate an offer of help to their co-workers before they are asked to assist by either their colleagues or their manager.
Ways To Become More Proactive At WorkThe steps you can take to become more proactive at work apply to both your formal role and your part of the scope of the OCB within your team, your department, and your overall organization. There are variations on the theme, however, the following behaviors are a common foundation within all of the theories:
Organize | Take Stock | Be PositiveProactivity requires that you be organized. That includes your mindset, your space, and of course, your schedule! Organizing your time helps you approach tasks more efficiently and allows you to be more open to opportunities. This scheduling needs to include 'downtime' for those activities that keep your life in balance. A positive attitude is right up there on any list. Approaching tasks from a positive perspective encourages you to look for the best in every situation. It helps you become the employee who is 'ready, willing, and able,' who can always be counted on. A team player who is reliable and available will become the go-to person, the problem solver. Take stock of your current responsibilities:
- What are your tasks?
- What are the priorities?
- What can be consolidated, eliminated, shortened?
- What can you do to stay ahead of less urgent tasks?
- How do you solve problems?
- Can you prevent them by planning ahead and developing alternative processes in anticipation?
- What are the things you still need to know?
- Can you automate any of your tasks to make them more effective and less time consuming?