Everyone knows that being proactive is great, especially at work. But how, exactly, do you go about becoming a proactive professional?
1. Figure Out Where Your Company and Career Goals Intersect
If your dream is to become, say, a brain surgeon, then it may seem like the skills you gain at a call center aren’t going to be all that useful. But even in a case that extreme, you can still find things to learn at your current job that can help you move toward your eventual goal, like empathy and attention to detail. Of course, if your goal is a bit more aligned with the company you’re working for, then you’ll have a lot more to gain!
Finding and focusing on the aspects of your work that benefit both you and your company will help you be more productive in your current position, while continuing to progress toward your long-term dream.
2. Never Stop Learning
Everyone – even your boss, and your boss’s boss – still has room to learn more. Many companies, like call centers in particular, offer various training and improvement courses, so you should be alert for chances to sign up and take advantage of these.
Even outside of work, keep an eye out for learning opportunities, whether it’s a conversation with someone you admire, an online course, or even just a good documentary. You never know – a new language skill or an informed opinion about healthcare in America, for instance, might just open an unexpected door along your career path. As long as you keep learning, you’ll keep growing.
3. Take the Initiative
If something needs to be done and no one is doing it, be the one who steps up and takes responsibility for the task. If a co-worker seems confused or frustrated, be the one who offers to help. If you think of a way something could be handled better – whether process, program, or protocol – be the one who speaks up and kickstarts improvement.
Every employer, ever, puts a lot of stock in initiative. Showing that you’re able to think and go beyond what’s formally asked of you will ensure that you’ll be the one your superiors think of, when the time for a raise or promotion rolls around.
4. Be Part of the Solution
When issues arise, far too many people are quick to point out why this or that proposed solution can’t possibly work. Don’t be one of those people. Even if you absolutely must point out that a proposal is unworkable, you can frame your statement in a positive light – instead of saying, “It’s impossible,” you might say, “That could be tricky, because ___. Can we think of a way to work around that issue?”
This may seem like a small thing – it’s definitely not as huge as coming up with an actual, working solution – but it helps keep the conversation going, rather than just throwing up obstacles. Proactiveness unites the team, where reactiveness divides it.
5. Welcome Guidance
No one likes making mistakes, much less being reprimanded for them. But bear in mind that feedback, whether positive or negative, is really guidance – it’s meant to build your capability, not tear you down. The key is to accept responsibility, listen, and learn.
Receiving feedback can actually be an opportunity to solicit advice from your bosses. You can ask them what your shortcomings are and how to address them, what your strengths are and how to improve them further, and what else you can do to learn more and help more. You don’t have to wait until you’re in trouble – even bosses who are too busy to talk, at a particular moment, will be pleased to note your willingness to grow.
Being proactive might seem like a vague concept at first, but there are actually concrete, doable tips you can try, to really take the reins on your career journey.