Proactive And Reactive Essay Example


What are the key differences between being proactive and reactive we may ask ourselves? To better answer that question, we must first understand and learn the two words and apply the traits of both to compare their meanings. We will start by looking at the word proactive and define it and see what some core qualities of a proactive person are. Then we will move on to reactive and define the word as well, again looking at some of the traits of a reactive person. We will then compare some of these main traits to further understand the two words. After we have done that, we shall investigate how these words would apply to a soldier in their everyday life and how we can better ourselves.

To be proactive, Merriam-Webster defined this word as “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes”. For one to be proactive you must take initiative and make a plan for what is to come. You could say that being proactive is influencing change in whatever it is that one is doing. Being proactive is a trait in everyone that is extremely valuable. If you have read the self-help book by the author Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, you will know that the first habit that he lists is being proactive. He defines being proactive as “Focus[ing] and act[ing] on what they can control and influence, instead of what you can’t.” In a work environment, many factors may be out of your control as an employee, however, there are also many factors of which you control. For example, If I were to come into the office and sit around because I do not have control of the schedule, I would not be proactive. On the other hand, if I were to come into work and start training on correspondence courses or take a few soldiers and train them up on tasks that I am near proficient on so that I can better my shop and the people that are in it, I would be a proactive soldier. To become proactive, you must take control of your life and your surroundings and not sit by and watch how things pan out. Another statement that the author Stephen Covey put in his novel was that responding to the stimuli in your environment is how responses are made. In between the stimulus and the response is where the human's greatest power lies. This is the power of free thought. It takes time to be proactive. You again must anticipate what is going to happen and react accordingly. The right reaction may take a minute of thought on how you are going to handle the situation that has been presented to you. The overarching theme of being proactive is how you handle a situation when it arises, then planning on your response before it happens.

The other side of the spectrum is to be reactive. Oxford Languages defines reactive as, "acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it". The two words are almost contradictory in a sense. To be Proactive is to think ahead of the situation and prepare a response, whilst being reactive is waiting for a situation to arise and reacting based on the situation at hand.

Another way to put this would be not taking the initiative to handle a situation yourself. Instead, you let outside factors affect the situation until the situation is yours to handle. This can be very negative in a work environment because it shows you have a lack of motivation and that you are only taking control when the situation arises, not beforehand. To put this as an example, if I were to come into work and sit around on my phone until I was told to handle a task, I would be a reactive person. Instead, I should take control of the situation and do what I should instead of being instructed by someone else. Being reactive is a negative trait to have because you have little to no control over the situation before you must react to it. In a workplace, you want to show your peers and superiors that you have what it takes to be where you are and that you have a handle over everything in your possession. I found a great chart explaining how proactive and reactive people's traits are in certain situations by Dr. Diane Hamilton. It says that a reactive leader is quick to punish their subordinates for their mistakes. On the other hand, a Proactive leader sees the errors made by their team and helps them learn from the mistakes that they have made. To put this into the Military's standpoint a leader should help their peers grow and develop. Correcting their deficiencies by punishing them will not help the soldier, but it will hinder the soldier's growth. This we must not do in order to fully develop our soldier’s.

To put this more into a military focus a soldier should strive to be a more proactive person rather than a reactive person. After my research, I have found that more benefits are being proactive versus being reactive. To strive to be a more proactive soldier in the workplace and outside of the workplace will benefit the soldier in many ways of their life. A way to start being more proactive is to have a positive outlook on your everyday life. You also need to have a positive attitude towards any situation that may arise. You should be prepared as a soldier to face any adverse situations that may come up and know how to properly handle said situations promptly. This will show your leadership, your motivation as well as helping you further progress in your career. To be proactive like stated before is the number one thing you need to do to become a highly successful person. This directly correlates to the Military as well as a soldier. We may not always know what to do in certain situations or the situation may become out of our control. This is when we need to take the time and respond correctly to the stimulus and handle the situation as professionals.

In a way being reactive may be a negative trait in the Military however, it can also be beneficial in certain circumstances. In a case where a situation is out of our control and we have not planned for what is going to happen, we need to be on the ball and react to the event as it happens. This requires us to take control which is a key trait to have. This is also similar to that of a good leader. If no one knows what to do in the situation, then we can step up as good soldiers and react to the situation as needed. Overall, we need to be more proactive as a soldier though. Being reactive does not show the soldiers' capability to think ahead and plan out the situation. To show our leadership that we can plan shows them positive traits and will directly impact your career positively. Being proactive is more impactful in the army, this will show that you are not only growing as a soldier yourself as well as also encouraging and training your peers. To be reactive in the environment that we are in would be detrimental to the SIGDET and the standard that we set. It also is detrimental to the people around you by encouraging them to follow the standards that you set. Being reactive will get little to nothing done. The soldiers that are less versed in the tasks that we are proficient in will not gain any skills. This is also true vice versa, where we will not get training from other soldiers in areas where they are subject matter experts.

Altogether I have learned that at work I should be more proactive. I have reflected on myself and my actions and have found that I have had a lack of motivation while at work. To be an overall better soldier I need to strive to take control over my work and take pride. I have many opportunities to help myself become better and help others become better., In the past couple of days, I have strived to show not only you but Sergeant Smith as well that I have what it takes to be the best soldier that I can. In the upcoming month, I will put everything that I have into being the best I can be. To become more proactive in the workplace. To progress my career, help others get the training that they need, and help set the example of being the best soldier that you can be. As I move forward with my career, I will strive to be less reactive to situations and focus on being proactive and figuring out how to solve the situation before it happens.

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