Being proactive versus reactive in the workplace can catapult your career. Unfortunately, many people don't quite understand the difference and certainly are not exercising the difference in their daily jobs. So, let's dig a little deeper to understand this more clearly.
If you're doing your job well and meeting all the expectations set forth in the job description, then you're likely operating in a reactive mode. This means that you understand what's MINIMALLY required of you and you're meeting those expectations....and....that after being TOLD what to do, you do it. So, even though you're doing your job and you may even be doing it really well, you are performing in a reactive mode. They tell you what to do and you do it. It is not uncommon for a reactive worker who does his/her job well to think that they are a "top performer", but the reality from a management perspective is that they are not. Reactive workers are easily replaced and are generally not top of mind when promotions are considered or when raises are given.
On the other hand, proactive workers are a manager's dream. These workers go above and beyond their job descriptions and consistently provide more than what is expected. A proactive person sees the job description as a starting point and uses it as a stage to find other ways to provide value and support to his team and to the company. Proactive means to not just solve a problem, but it also means drafting a solution that may help to prevent future problems. Being proactive means anticipating what's needed, what's next, and what would be of value to the company - above and beyond your current job responsibilities.
Which one are you - reactive or proactive? ....and more importantly, which one are you going to be in the future?