It seems that these days it is not just enough to be competent at work or in school; especially when it comes to B-school with a lot of academic assignment writing. People are required to be proactive as well. The society has firmly established and embedded within our core being, that the notion of forward thinking is an elemental tool for the success, well being and perhaps even the survival of businesses.
But here in this post, we will dig a little deeper into this notion of pro-activity and analyze whether pro-active behavior is all good or can it be a cause of unforeseen stress and negative consequences as a result?
It is true that people from all walks of life attempt to second guess a whole variety of problems that they face with on a regular basis, wherever we look we can see it everywhere. We see secretaries in movies, and in real life getting as much information as possible, which they think their bosses, might need for a meeting, for shopping, stocking up their shelves preparing for the next big seasonal event. Then there are moms filling a bag with stuff that she feels her baby may need that day. It is true that forward planning is necessary and very much useful. It allows a lot of benefits for the workers, students, companies and classes and makes people successful and effective. With a lot going on about having a proactive behaviour, what is there then to be concerned about?
A team of psychologists from Amsterdam have conducted some research on the issue and have discovered a series of potentially difficult times ahead for proactive people. While innovative behaviours and career initiatives are known to be associated to career success. But a type of proactive behaviour may be detrimental to career success. People who voice too many concerns at work are often less likely to be promoted and more likely to have roles with lesser pay.
There is a phenomenon called the ‘initiative paradox’ which occurs when the proactive behaviour is thought to be out of step with the values of the group in class or the company where you work. While the motive of the person doing so may have the future of themselves or the company in mind, their expression of concerns about future plans or directions many simply make the person seem like a whiner or too much of a complainer or just plain obstructive in nature.
Hence, proactive people may seem to be somewhat isolated and viewed as sycophantic in their quest to climb the greasy pole up the career bar!
So, in conclusion while being proactive is useful, when managed properly but still assuming that there are no disadvantages of pro-activity and it has no negative implications is wrong and potentially disruptive for the individual.