Proactive vs. Reactive Leaders

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Ask yourself, are you proactive or reactive as a leader?

How much of your time is spent reacting to problems versus being more proactive in the leadership of your department?

Let’s look at how you can shift some of your attention to being more proactive and less reactive.

Effects of Reactional Leadership

As a front line leader in an operational setting, a large portion of your day is spent reacting to problems. Absenteeism, material availability, equipment breakdown, and schedule changes just to name a few.

If you're good at reacting, and manage to keep things together, you'll likely have a long career in manufacturing, distribution or operations. Share on X

But it will also be very stressful, and you’re going to find yourself getting into a rut. Your team will also feel neglected because you’re always running around putting out fires instead of helping the department run better.

Shifting to Proactive Leadership

If you can shift some of your effort to being more proactive, you’ll feel a greater sense of satisfaction in what you accomplish in a given day or week.

To be more proactive it helps to have a list of things that you’d like to see improved in your department. How could you involve your team, or other departments, to make improvements to eliminate some of those problems that send you into reaction mode?

Benefits of Proactive Leadership

Imagine the positive benefit of resolving an issue at its root cause, and see your frustration drop, and your team’s frustrations reduced as well.

Initially, you’ll find that your day is 90% reacting, and 10% proactive, but over time you’ll notice the mix will become more balanced. You’ll probably never completely escape having to react to problems, but they should happen less frequently.

Team members really respect a leader who removes frustrations and obstacles to completing the work. When you proactively make improvements in your department, your team will find it easier to hit their numbers, and they’ll also be happier as well. That will reduce absenteeism, and improve teamwork.

Even in a really hectic day with lots of problems to deal with, take at least one proactive step to make improvements.

Right now, what percentage of your time is spent being proactive versus reactive?