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5 Ways to Encourage Your Team to Be Proactive

If you’re a manager, one of your main responsibilities is to develop a capable and eager team.

But why is it that every time you share a project brief or call for a brainstorming session, no one takes immediate initiative to contribute their ideas?

If your team habitually hesitates when it comes to jumping into a new task, it is probably not because they lack motivation.

It’s probably because they’re unsure of how proactive you want them to be.

Many employees don’t speak up, advocate, or assert themselves for the fear of intruding on what they perceive to be their bosses’ “territory”. A self-limiting belief derived from different sources, commonly from past work experience.

To encourage your team to break free and be proactive, it rests upon you as their manager to create an environment where stepping up feels natural, organic, and welcomed.

Here are five simple ways to get the ball rolling:

1. Be direct with your expectations

You want your team to bring their A-game from start to finish… but are they aware of it?

Most of the time, setting clear expectations and properly communicating them is all it takes to turn a reactive team into a proactive one.

If you want them to work together fluidly and arrive at solutions before coming to you for advice, have a conversation about it.

If you want them to make decisions based on their initiative, make sure this is communicated beforehand.

Your team won’t know what they don’t know. So be direct with your expectations and tell them!

2. Allow them to lead the way

When a team member comes to you with a question or problem, use this as an opportunity to help them become more independent.

Instead of giving the answer right away, ask them if they tried to work on it and if they have any potential solutions in mind. From there, you can guide them in the right direction while gently correcting any mistakes they make.

This approach will help them feel more capable and confident to work on tasks and come up with innovative solutions on their own.

3. Provide more career development opportunities

Implementing career development opportunities can help your team feel more competent and empowered within their roles. This can lead to them taking more initiative and being more assertive at work.

There are several ways you can provide career development. Some popular methods include educational seminars, continual training, and reimbursed courses.

You can also help your members find helpful resources, such as:

  • Blogs

  • Books

  • How-to guides

  • Online tutorials

  • Podcasts

4. Ask for their advice

If you want your team to perform at their best and go above and beyond their duty, they have to know you trust them.

One way to signal this is to turn to them for advice.

The next time you’re stumped on a management task, call in a team meeting and ask each member what they think the best plan of action is.

Aside from getting the help you need, they walk out feeling more confident knowing that you have confidence in them when it comes to making big, critical decisions.

5. Give motivational incentives

While some people may seize the opportunity to take a self-starting approach, others may need more encouragement.

Giving motivational incentives for acts of proactiveness might just be the boost they need to get started or do it more often.

Project bonuses and other forms of financial rewards are good sources of motivational incentives. But if you’re looking for something easier to implement, research shows that simple praises and employee awards are just as effective.

Wrapping Up

A proactive team might seem like a rare commodity. But by applying the strategies we outlined above, you can easily shape yours to be one in no time!

Need a proactive virtual assistant to join your team? Connect with us and we’ll match you with one right away!

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