If you are a business leader, then facing challenges is something you must be used to, no matter the industry or the type of business you are in. Although problems and challenges come across every leader’s road, they don’t all handle them in the same way. Some are reactive to situations, while others have a more proactive approach.
The difference between reactive and proactive leaders:
A reactive leader waits for what’s believed to be a wrong behavior to arise and intervenes to correct it. In other words, they lead by exception, which means that they react to people who act in exception to prescribed expectations. Any future problems, issues, or even opportunities would be surprising to them because they always have their heads down waiting for people to make mistakes and sanction them.
On the other hand, for proactive leaders, when something goes wrong, instead of blaming others and focusing on the problem, they shift their focus on the solution and take corrective actions. This type of leader is calm in most situations and takes deliberate steps to achieve their goals. They’re flexible and quick to accept change and make necessary corrections.
While reactive leaders deal with events as they come, proactive leaders anticipate events and plan accordingly. They always have a plan in place as well as a backup plan. Proactive leaders always expect some situations to be out of their control, and instead of panicking and worrying about it, they believe in their problem-solving capabilities and those of their teams.
Traits of Proactive Leaders:
- Good organizational skills: organizational skills are important as they let you stay focused on your tasks, and use your time and energy in the most effective and efficient ways in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Being a well-organized person helps leaders to plan ahead and have a good vision of the future, it gives them control over the different situations and empowers their problem-solving mindset.
- Good delegators: proactive leaders know how to let go of some tasks and responsibilities and assign them to their team members because they trust them and want to make them feel involved, contribute to their professional development, and benefit from their skills. This kind of leaders delegate because they understand that they can’t do everything by themselves and they need other people’s help to progress.
- Big picture thinkers: proactive leaders’ “big picture” thinking gives them the ability to come up with ideas, solutions, and opportunities. They see possibilities and are willing to take risks.
- Calm: they have the ability to stay calm and focused even during the most complicated situations. They can maintain their composure and make the right decisions at the right time.
- Intentional: Proactive leaders like to have everything under control, their decisions are always well calculated and they rarely do anything by accident since they are highly organized and goal-oriented.
Why do businesses need proactive leaders?
A successful business depends on a set of different factors, among them, good leadership, and good leadership could be just another synonym for proactive leadership.
Being proactive is one of the best things a leader can do for his team, considering all the advantages it offers.
- During difficult times, businesses need people who can stay calm and manage stress effectively.
- Businesses can’t survive without people who, in a crisis, can think clear enough to come up with solutions instead of putting all the emphasis on the problems.
- In order to grow, a business needs someone who has a good vision for the future and can anticipate what’s coming.
- A business is also in need of someone who can see opportunities where others can’t and is brave enough to take the risks.
- To get the best out of the team members, they need to feel trusted and respected by their leaders and given the impression that their opinion matters, and proactive leaders can do great when it comes to this mission.
A proactive attitude is a gift that some people are naturally born with, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be acquired over time. You shouldn’t necessarily be a leader to try to learn this skill. It is something that all of us can be trying to practice in our personal and professional lives as a way to grow and progress and have a positive impact on people around us.