Are you proactive? If not, you might want to consider why you should be.

We sat down with Rafi E. Ahmad, Adjunct Instructor, UMBC, ISD Graduate Program, to talk about the importance of being a self-starter.

“One of the best traits a successful professional can possess is to be proactive in everything he/she does,” says Ahmad. He advises that professionals should not wait for their manager to direct their career path, rather they should pinpoint that for themselves. “Honestly evaluate your strengths and weakness in the core competencies for your current job and in what you aspire to be. Compare your strengths and weaknesses with how your manager evaluates them.”

Ahmad suggests professionals take the opportunity to conduct a 360 degree feedback evaluation that includes peers, clients, and any managers with whom regular interaction occurs. He also notes that having a five-year plan is critical, and that this five-year plan should include opportunities to improve skills through on-the-job activities, learning from others, and training. “I recommend that professionals ask their managers for support with on-the-job learning by assigning stretch assignments that allow them to move out of their comfort zone and challenge them. This proactive approach is a great way to grow.”

Another key piece of advice he offered is to be proactive in continuing with education by attending learning events that keep skills and knowledge up-to-date.

When workload is down, instead of coasting, Ahmad suggests professionals approach their manager about an idea they have that they’d like to lead to improve an inefficient process. This volunteering of information can lead to new opportunities. “Professionals can offer to lead a company’s volunteer project or lead a training class on a skill that peers have not mastered as well as they have.” And if a potential risk or issue is noticed, Ahmad suggests to not just bring the issue to a manager, but to bring possible solutions.

“I have found that people that are seen as proactive and self-starters are always highly valued within an organization.” – Ahmad

Bottom line, being a self-starter can lead to a brighter future.

Always in Learning Mode,

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