Being a Proactive Leader

As a leader, do you find yourself in reaction much of the time?  Have you become very good at putting out fires, so good that there is hardly any time to plan your day, your week, your year?  Often times managers and executives find themselves operating from this mode, simply responding to what comes up in front of them vs. having the time to map out what needs to get done.  One mode is not right and the other wrong, but you may find that learning to operate more from the proactive side not only has you reaching your objectives quicker, it also has you utilizing those around you to their fullest potential.

Reactive leaders usually rely on their own answers and feel they need to know it all.  Proactive leaders fully acknowledge they can’t possibly know it all and reach out to their teams to share and contribute their knowledge and expertise.

Reactive leaders will make decisions by themselves whereas proactive leaders allow others to make decisions and trust in their decision making more often.  This allows others around you to flourish.

Reactive leaders push team members for results, constantly driving the team to produce.  Proactive leaders generate a vision for the company, enroll the team in sharing in that vision, and have them be so compelled by it that the team motivates themselves toward fulfilling on that vision.

A reactive leader will teach those around them to wait to be directed.  A proactive leader inspires the team to be self directed and will acknowledge this behavior over and over again.

A reactive leader feels out of control and responds to the issues and problems that arise.  A proactive leader does not allow themselves or the team to be derailed by issues that arise.  They know it’s a part of the process and stay focused in those moments of stress.

A reactive leader tends to always be “waiting for the other shoe to drop”.  A proactive leader stands in the future of what they want to create and doesn’t allow the normal ups and downs to veer them off that path.

A reactive leader is quick to punish mistakes and undesirable behavior.  A proactive leader allows themselves and others to make mistakes, knowing that is the best way to learn and grow.

A reactive leader relies on rules to make decisions.  A proactive leader makes decisions based on their vision and company culture.

Where do you see yourself in these categories?  Again, one is not right and the other wrong, they just produce different results.  Learning to operate more from the proactive side, you may find yourself not only producing greater results, but will certainly have you feeling more peaceful and also making the difference with your teams that you most want to make.