Is Your Workplace Busy Being Reactive Or Proactive?

Leadership Lesson: Always monitor the environments you enter, in order to remain aware of whether or not those players are proactively anticipating and tackling the issues around them or merely reacting — and battling — fires that keep popping up.

As you enter the workforce for the first time or as you transition into a new job in general, be aware of what the modus operandi is of the culture you are entering.

We spend so much time trying to learn and better ourselves — investing in ourselves — that it’s a shame when we begin working with someone, a group, or an organization which does not take that same proactive stance on both development and their strategy in general.

For your part, entering such a culture might be a blind mistake, but staying in such an environment becomes a known liability.

Toxicity can come in many forms when it comes to the workplace and professional development. One type of toxicity can take the shape of an obvious and explicit attitude which actually negates the desire of one to learn and grow. And then there’s the other type — the silent and seemingly undetectable toxicity of stagnation. Stagnation is the lack of activity, the inability to proceed, and the habit of being reactive instead of being proactive.

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Being in reactive mode is different as one’s energy is spent entirely on defense and survival instead of offense and building. The tools, knowledge, and ability that might have been seen in someone in an interview — and the reason for which they were hired — aren’t allowed to thrive because the effort of the culture is spent on rectifying issues instead of proactively focusing its direction.

No worker or staff should be made to have their energy languish in reactive mode. Think about the maintenance of any structure — for instance, a building. If you don’t plan, design, prepare, and work to make a building stronger, reinforcing it to make it bigger and more grand, you’re going to bide your time merely waiting for things to fall apart in order to respond with temporary patches on the facade instead of reinforcing the true structural deficit and building up from there.

In reaction mode, your time and energy are constantly diverted away from what could have been (using your knowledge to make the situation better) to what you’re now forced to do (making sure the operation doesn’t go under).

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The longer an environment waits to get into proactive mode, the worse it is for morale, the mission and the culture.

Make sure you’re in a work environment that works for you and reconciles to your goals for growth and path for your career.

You owe yourself just as much, if not more, than the company does when it comes to your development and future.

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