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How to Encourage your team to be proactive

How being proactive at work benefits your business

Employees that take initiative are driven by themselves, creative problem solvers, and opportunity scouters. People are more engaged and productive when they feel encouraged and trusted at work, which not only produces outcomes.

Both your people and your business profit when you encourage employees to take initiative at work. Increased productivity and efficiency can result from proactive employees. Proactivity enhances an individual’s career and well-being, according to research, and improves team and organizational performance. “People who are proactive use their initiative at work to create a better future.”

Characteristics of a proactive employee

Here are several characteristics of proactive team members or employees:

  • Engaged: Proactive people are totally committed to what they are doing. They contribute actively to the workplace and give assistance as a team member.
  • Thoughtful: You need workers who are always considering potential outcomes. Proactive workers are more likely to analyze a situation and choose wisely.
  • Driven: A proactive employee makes things happen rather than waiting for them to happen to them. They employ their desire and drive to produce high-quality work while keeping their team’s objectives in mind.
  • Goal-oriented: Ask them about their present objectives to find out if they are proactive. People who have clear objectives and a plan for achieving them are more likely to be proactive.
  • Detail-oriented: You must completely evaluate a problem in order to take aggressive action. Detail-oriented people can gather all the data they require to make these decisions.
  • Self-motivated: A proactive employee finds ways to inspire oneself, whether by defining goals or developing a unique incentive system, rather than relying on external sources of inspiration.
  • Prompt: Professionals that are proactive are frequently the first to handle problems at work or reply immediately to communications. They arrive at work on schedule and go to work immediately away fixing issues.

The Telltale Signs of a Team Lacking Initiative

  1. Helplessness

Team members frequently display signals of helplessness when they are more reactive than proactive. You could observe a shrug of the shoulders and “Oh well, that’s just the way it is” when issues arise.

After that, keep an eye out for statements like “It will never work” or “We tried that previously and it didn’t work.”

Are you hearing it? That is the sound of an overwhelmed team.

  1. Victim mindset

A victim mentality is another crucial indicator that one of your team members may be suffering from a lack of initiative. Team members that feel like unfair treatment is occurring to them are indicative of this and powerless to intervene.

  1. Lack of Open Communication

You’ll find that communication deteriorates when your team members aren’t taking initiative. They may choose to remain silent about their issues rather than sharing them with you.

Unfortunately, you can’t address an issue if you don’t know about it. Supporting your team becomes very challenging when communication breaks down.

So why does your team act in this way? They feel helpless, as we just discussed in the first point.

How to encourage employees?

1. Create a culture of trust and empowerment

Managers must make it clear that they value independence and initiative just as much as they do teamwork. Employee trust is associated with:

  • Greater organizational commitment
  • Willingness to stay with the company
  • active involvement in the organization’s health

Asking workers for suggestions, putting their faith in them to make decisions, asking them to do more in their professions, and allowing them to take little risks are all excellent ways to show this. If someone offers a brilliant idea, encourage them to pursue it and be sure to thank them for their efforts whether the answer is successful or not.

2. Motivate employees with an idea challenge

Consider some of the problems your business is facing; whether it’s lowering health care expenditures or boosting sales. Open the floor to employees with an Idea Challenge rather than conducting a brainstorming session in a conference room. Be open and honest about the problem and what needs to be done. Reward the top five suggestions, put the best one into action, and honor the finalists by sharing them with leadership or by letting the whole organization know.

3. Encourage flexible work schedules

Let’s face it, while you may try to assist staff members with work-life balance by providing services like time management workshops, the majority of staff members just require more time. A 9 to 5 job may not be ideal for everyone, especially in this day and age, and some individuals are more effective working from home. Employees are considerably more pro-active at work when you put an emphasis on outcomes and give them the freedom to accomplish their jobs anyway they see fit.

4. Implement a “Solutions Only” policy

The first habit in Steven Covey’s global best-seller “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is initiative. According to Covey, it entails accepting responsibility and having an analytical mindset. Encourage this by requesting that workers report issues at work along with potential solutions.

5. Reward proactive healthy behaviors

Employees who are in good health are engaged, productive, and yes, proactive. But doing so requires being as proactive in regards to their health. Employees are more likely to be interested in their job and feel supported by their organization when they perceive themselves to have better well-being. If employees feel better means the entire company will do better.


There are a few key things you can do as a manager or leader to encourage your team to be proactive. First, make it clear that you value personal initiative and extra effort. You can do this by giving positive feedback during performance reviews and mentioning proactive behaviour in company-wide communications. Second, create an environment that supports proactive behaviour. This includes promoting open communication, encouraging new ideas, and providing opportunities for employees to take the lead on projects. Finally, lead by example! Show your team that you’re committed to being proactive by taking initiative yourself and double-checking that things are getting done. By following these steps, you’ll create a more proactive team that is better equipped to handle whatever comes their way.

In Singapore, by having corporate team building events may also aid employees to become more proactive. This is because they have a sense of identity in the company and they form a bond with their colleagues which may lead into a healthier work environment. Therefore, team building activities are very common.

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