Proactive, it is a word that is just as important as abstract in the field. It is often mentioned in job descriptions, LinkedIn profiles and CVs, and professionals use it in step and by step. But what does pro-activity really mean? And perhaps even more important: how do you ensure that you are proactive in the workplace?

What is proactive?

According to the Van Dale dictionary 'Proactive' means the following: 'Where you do not wait, but think ahead'. Although this definition covers the cargo, pro-activity goes even further. Someone who is proactive makes choices, leads the way, makes things negotiable, shows initiative and dares to take control.

The opposite of proactive is reactive. A reactive person does exactly the opposite: he prefers to leave choices to someone else, he follows, he keeps things to himself, is awaiting and sees others happy to take the lead. Think about yourself; which person would be a better manager? A more successful entrepreneur? A more inspiring leader? The proactive or the reactive person?

However, there is often no sharp dividing line between proactive and reactive persons, almost everyone has both proactive and reactive properties. In addition, a person's approach can differ per situation. Someone can be very proactive until the pressure comes on the boiler. However, it is always possible to work on your pro-activity.

How do you become proactive?

Pro-activity is not something you can learn from a book, it is a trait that you gradually develop. You can have a talent for it, but even if you are not proactive, you can always be more pro-active. This is often a matter of experience, it is about getting trust in your own judgment, insight and choices. As soon as you see that you can really make a change, you will more often prepare proactively .

What does that look like? Dare to take responsibility. For example, consider the possibilities to take the lead of a team within your organization. This can start small, like the party committee, but after a while you will dare to take more and more responsibility.

Also come up with ideas more often, probably you have enough ideas about how your workplace could function better. Try to pronounce these ideas more often and also be prepared to take responsibility for the implementation of these ideas. Do you, for example, have the idea that the entire office can better switch to other office chairs? Then take the responsibility to search for possible models yourself. This way you take control and show your initiative.

A proactive leader

The more responsibility you get, the more proactivity is expected from you. That is not surprising, the higher up you get in your career, the more influence your insight and ideas will have on the organization. It is therefore an interaction: the more responsibility you have, the more proactive you have to be and the more proactive you want to become, the more responsibility you will have to take. One thing is certain: a reactive leader does not exist.