If you could choose one skill which most likely to promote your career, what would it be?
Our way of work has changed immensely over the past two month. some of the changes will pass but hopefully some of them will stabilize.
What those changes have in common and what can we gain out of those changes?
We can identify three significant changes affecting our workplace environment:
1. Back to Basic Management: at the last two month we shift our main evaluation to performance instead of working hours; we don't really care whether our employee is delivering while cooking or whether it took him a whole night to complete its assignment. we only see the bottom line of our team reaching its goals according to the company's mission.
2. Working in Distributed Teams: working at the time of Covid-19 was not working from home since we were not privileged with location flexibility nor time flexibility. as the Canadian government declared: "You are not working from home- you are at your home, during crisis, trying to work". never the less, remote management can raise productivity once done right; allowing this flexibility.
3. Self-motivated Teams: Different people from different positions and organizations got together to resolve a mutual urging problem facing humanity. We see new teams being created by personal initiations joining forces to make an impact and find solutions or cure for Covid-19.
What those 3 changes got in common?
So, we are working by ourselves with no manager watching over our head but facing a real workload, stress and uncertainty. we would like to improve the current situation and what requires from us in order to perform well under those three changed mentions above is to demonstrate a proactive behavior.
As work becoming more dynamic and central nowadays, proactive behavior at work becoming crucial factor in organizational success. therefore, organizations need employees and managers that are more proactive.
Proactive behavior is defined as an initiative behavior, purposed to improve existing circumstances or to create new ones. This behavior challenges the status-quo more than passively adjust to existing circumstances.
Proactive behavior is expressed by several skills and abilities, which already been raised by the World Economic Forum on its Future of Jobs Report (2018):
Complex Problem Solving
Creativity and Innovation
Active Learning and Learning Strategies
So, what increases Proactivity?
In order for us to demonstrate proactive behavior we must feel we have the ability to influence our work. this can happen once we believe in our ability to perform and once we were given the opportunity to express this belief.
A research examined variables influencing proactive behavior at the work place among 18,500 people from 22 countries (Harpaz & Parnas, 2006) found two major variables promoting the probability to demonstrate proactive behavior at the workplace:
1. Control: Employee's perceptions of control at work are the primary and necessary condition for any proactive behavior because an employee lack self-judgment and decision-making ability in his work will not be able to become proactive even if he wanted to be. the extent of which an individual perceives his freedom to make decisions over his work, usually relates to the extent of autonomy and involvement in decision making.
2. Learning & Development: In order for us to be able to go beyond our formal roles and responsibilities we must first become a professional in our formal job. Organizational training will provide us with a sense of expertise and an ambition to give back to my workplace which develops me.
Control over our work and organizational learning programs promotes proactivity since it provides us with a sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. our belief in our own ability to influence our environment is a significant action motivator, especially while performing under stress, workload and uncertainty.
There for, perceived control and organizational development programs are the professional infrastructure enabling us to go beyond our formal job requirements and take proactive actions to improve current situation. those tow key components are also major characteristics of a Learning Organization, which generates an organizational climate of innovation and initiation.
How can promote proactivity in our company?
We can promote proactive behavior in our workplace by taking actions to encourage self-efficacy (confidence in your ability to deliver) among our employees and managers:
At the management skills level; direct manager should enhance his teams' sense of control by enabling more autonomy in performance and involve them more in decision making related their job.
At the leadership skills level; the company's management should clarify the organizational vision and mission and consolidate all employees around its fulfilment. this sense of significance will promote employee engagement and help focus motivation and energy towards the right cause.
At the organizational level; we should provide our employees with on-going learning and development opportunities, time and resources. that will promote a learning organization's culture.
Our new routine is on its way. let's try to embrace some of the changes forced upon us due to Covid-19; evaluate performance rather than working hours, enjoying time and place flexibility while working from home and engaging our team to a mutual cause. all this will promote proactivity and enhance company's success at a global fast changing world.
This content was also published at GLOBES, Israel's leading business newspaper.