Leadership is a topic that’s talked about extensively. From articles on what leaders should say to how they should act, there is no shortage of advice on what leaders should be. However, amidst all of this advice, one foundational habit is essential for great leadership: proactivity.
Being proactive means taking responsibility, taking initiative, and acting instead of waiting to be acted upon. It requires being resourceful, finding creative solutions, and refusing to take no for an answer. Proactivity is a simple yet profound principle, but many struggle to develop this habit. It’s easier to be reactive and live on inertia than to step up and lead.
The Wall Street Journal notes that most managers spend their careers reacting to orders from above or responding to problems from below. However, you will not be an effective leader if all you do is react. Great leaders are proactive, driven by passion, and find a way to achieve what matters most.
If you find yourself constantly firefighting and reacting to one issue after another without considering its importance, it’s time to reassess your approach. Reflect on what actions or behaviors from others cause a “knee-jerk” reaction from you, and consider stepping back to assess the situation before reacting. Additionally, think about the last time you responded in a way you later regretted.
Remember that being proactive doesn’t always mean taking action. Sometimes, it means taking a step back, analyzing the situation, and choosing not to act. Developing a proactive habit takes time and practice but is crucial to effective leadership. So, take charge of your success by becoming a proactive leader today.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.