Three Things to Stop Doing to Shift from Reactive to Proactive Leadership
Do you spend the majority of your time in a proactive mode or a reactive mode?
If you’re in a proactive mode, you are spending more time on growth and opportunities. But if you're in a reactive mode, you are spending more time on threats and risks. Think about a hamster running furiously on his wheel. The faster that wheel spins, the harder he runs in an eternal state of insane reactivity. Don’t be a hamster! Be proactive — base the majority of your time on the Vital Few. Accomplish success (and achieve greater sanity) by putting a plan in place to implement the key strategies tied to goal achievement.
But first, how can you tell if you’re in a reactive mode? A few telltale signs include:
- extinguishing those forever fires
- putting forth efforts but getting no change
- working for the business instead of on the business
- feeling out of control
- racing about and worrying the sky is gonna fall
- being obsessed or seemingly trapped by trouble-shooting problems
- letting everyone think it’s Ok for you to be the only go-to person for answers
If you want to be a more proactive, productive and respected leader, then you need to get off the wheel and stop doing these three things.
1. Stop being simply “busy.”
Instead, become more effective. Focus fearlessly less on the trivial many or all that distracts you from succeeding with the vital few. Shift your energy and actions to support the critical goals that you know will drive success, rather than investing resources into what pulls you away from it. Remember, busy does not necessarily equate to effective. In fact, people are often “too busy” because they are mismanaging time, prioritizing poorly, or doing all the wrong things. Best to get priorities straight — and leave being busy to the bees!
2. Stop the “busy-ness” of meddling and micromanaging.
Delegate more to others, implement accountability, and reward those who succeed. This will not only lift a big weight off your shoulders, but also help you to focus on the vital few. Assign whatever duties you can to others, keeping more management and leadership tasks for yourself. Require and empower direct reports to bring you more solutions, rather than provide and enable them with the answers yourself. It’s simply not your job to solve everyone’s problems. (If you’re doing that, consider the quality and competency of your hires.) Once you delegate effectively, you’ll have more free time for using it as you see fit and, ideally, in a balanced, more proactive way.
3. Stop talking about how busy you are.
Concentrate on really getting things done. Nobody appreciates hearing how much you’ve got on your plate — as if you’re the only one working. Spend more time doing something meaningful and goal-oriented, less time talking, and you’ll actually get more done. Doing so will earn you greater respect as a leader and reap bigger rewards in terms of goals and dreams achieved. And then that might be something worth talking about!
Do you find yourself spending most of your time in reactive mode and putting out fires?