The Importance of Taking Initiative and Being Proactive

The Importance of Taking Initiative and Being Proactive

16 August 2022 by Grant Bummer

​The Importance of Taking Initiative and Being Proactive

​There are a few phrases that are often thrown around when people are talking about important characteristics to have, with ‘taking initiative’ and ‘being proactive’ being two of the most common. This is because they are both key attributes to have in any industry, but especially in competitive industries such as recruitment and fintech. But, what do they really mean?

What Does Taking Initiative and Being Proactive Really Mean?

To show initiative means to do something without being told, to take it upon yourself to act based on your own findings. Instead of waiting to be told what to do, you find out what needs to be done and you complete the task yourself. At work, showing initiative often presents itself as someone spotting and taking advantage of opportunities that others might have missed.

Being proactive refers to creating or controlling a situation yourself, rather than simply waiting to see what happens. If someone is being proactive, they create or control the situation themselves, instead of simply responding to it after the fact.

The Benefits of Being Proactive and Taking Initiative in Life

Though being proactive and taking initiative mean different things, they are somewhat linked when it comes to improving both your personal and professional life.  

●       Being Proactive

At work, a proactive employee is someone who can showcase a high level of productivity and efficiency. Instead of waiting for someone else to complete a task, a proactive employee will jump at the chance to do it themselves. Proactivity drives performance, which can boost an employee’s career path and earning potential.

On a personal level, being proactive allows someone to take advantage of every opportunity they are presented with. This could be something as minor as staying on top of admin and errands, or something as fun as saying yes to a social engagement.

●       Taking Initiative

An employee who takes initiative will quickly establish themselves as a valued member of the team, which is also likely to lead to future career success. These are the people who are thought of for promotions, pay rises and development opportunities. This is because taking initiative demonstrates confidence, high self esteem and a willingness to work hard.  

This is also the case in your personal life, as being confident helps you to feel ready for whatever life throws at you. Taking initiative also means setting goals, achieving goals and completing tasks. These are all things that help you to stay organised, motivated and happy on a personal level.  

The Characteristics of Being Proactive and Taking Initiative

●       Long Term Perspective

●       Organised

●       Resilient

●       Reaching Goals and Intentions

●       Growth Mindset

●       Punctuality

●       High Confidence and Self-Esteem

 How to Be Proactive and Take Initiative

  1. Go above and beyond what people expect of you, and do more than what you have been asked.

  2. Take the lead on projects and take charge of a situation when you need to. Don’t wait for someone else to step in.

  3. Learn to problem solve effectively and efficiently, instead of waiting for someone to find a solution for you.

  4. Look to the future and avoid dwelling on the past. Don’t think about your past mistakes, but learn from them.

  5. Not all goals and tasks are equally important, so learn to prioritise those that matter most. 

As you can see, taking initiative and being proactive is hugely important. Whether you are an employee at work or an individual at home, both of these things can help you to get ahead and succeed in life.

This blog is a part of our on-going series " Our guide to the human skills you need to get ahead (skillfindergroup.com)"