One important habit that Stephen Covey discusses in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is being proactive. This involves taking initiative, but also a good attitude.
Covey writes, “Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.” He continues by contrasting reactive people who “are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment” to proactive people who “driven by values-carefully thought about, selected, and internalized values.”
That’s not just book knowledge. The best employees I’ve known are people with a proactive attitude who know and have thought about their attitude before conflicts or crises arise. For example, do you look for ways to uplift your colleagues or do you talk about them negatively when they are not there? Do you engage your boss when you disagree or do you complain to everyone else in the office? Have you taken time to think about how you react in difficult situations before they come up?
A proactive attitude embraces unpleasant or mundane tasks and goes above and beyond what is expected. Proactive employees come up with solutions instead of complaining about problems or blaming someone else. Are you the person who stays after a program to help clean up, or do you complain about the mess and wait for someone to do something? Do you seek ways to improve your productivity, or do you surf the web and wait until the next assignment comes?
What ways are you proactive? Do you agree with Covey’s distinction between proactive and reactive employees?
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