When we consider the difference between proactive and reactive we tend to look at one as being a description of somebody who is a go-getter, inspirational, energetic and productive, while the other being a description of someone who is less of a leader, but more of a follower. It’s true to say that the word “reactive” carries a somewhat negative connotation in the business sense, but we are considering how people operate. If someone were to ask you what type of personality you would prefer as a virtual assistant – a proactive or a reactive one, the chances are that you would initially opt for the former. Yet there is a time and place for both types of persons within an organisation and definite advantages associated with hiring a reactive VA at the right time.
A proactive virtual assistant can often be said to be someone who is worth their weight in gold. You do not need to spend a lot of time involved in coaching them, as they may well have a lot of experience in the type of work you are putting forward. They may have been business owners in their own right and may know very well how to streamline a particular task while maintaining maximum efficiency and productivity. Yet this is not to take away from the benefits associated with a reactive virtual assistant. This person may not be quite as experienced or “business savvy” as the proactive alternative, but they may nevertheless be highly efficient in their own right and can be relied on 100% to complete the tasks delegated.
The reactionary virtual assistant reacts differently to the task or tasks laid out in front of them. Jobs which may be by definition rather mundane or repetitive can be attacked right away, with ultimate reliability being their forte. There’s no question that the job will not be completed and the type of personality associated with a reactive virtual assistant means that they will not rest until they have completed the task to your maximum satisfaction.
It is sometimes thought that only a proactive virtual assistant can be a really valuable business asset in terms of someone who can truly be seen as an advisor. The proactive VA is, after all, the one who suggests that an alternative method may be cheaper, quicker or more productive. Yet the reactionary virtual assistant is not simply someone who does the job like an automaton. This type of virtual assistant will undoubtedly be better than simply a robot at completing the tasks and can be relied upon to point out anything that just doesn’t seem to be right, or that may be holding up progress.
Often the best virtual assistant team will be the one that has a mixture of both types within. Contrary to popular opinion both types can get along equally as well with each other under stressful circumstances and it is worth developing a team that is composed of a variety of personalities, especially if they have experience of working together in the past.