What is the proactivity of an effective leader? What allows the person standing at the head of the enterprise to effectively engage in management activities? Due to the presence or absence of what quality, some people build up their careers and take the lead in the company, while others hold one post most of their lives? Why does a leader have to be proactive and what does this term literally mean? Let’s figure it out right now.
In the previous article, “The Leadership theory” I talked about what factors influence the formation of the personality of a leader. In this article, I suggest you to dig into this topic a little bit deeper in order to find out what is one of the main qualities of an effective leader, if not the most basic, which allows him to keep his finger on the pulse, make reasoned decisions, manage the team and enjoy the work.
What is proactivity
First of all, we need to understand what proactivity really is. Well, this is a fairly popular concept in the business environment, which is used almost universally, but at the same time, it doesn’t have a clear and unified definition, because different sources interpret it differently. And there’s no need to go far for an explanation. The fact is that proactivity is, first of all, a set of qualities. Not a specific list of them, but the necessary totality that each defines for himself in each specific situation.
For example, taking responsibility means being proactive. But not only responsibility determines proactivity. Taking initiative in your own hands is also means being proactive. What else, you might ask? Another thing is to do more than is required of you. Is that all? Not quite. Engaging in self-education also means being proactive. And also to help others, to leave the comfort zone, to make new business contacts, to take risks and so on.
In other words, if you nevertheless try to formulate, on the basis of the foregoing, no matter how specific the definition is, it could sound like this. Proactivity, if we consider it under the prism of work or career, is professional activity, that is, a combination of knowledge, qualities, skills and, above all, actions that allow a person to be as effective as possible in work. This is certainly a rather crude and superficial definition, however, in such a formulation, it most closely reflects its essence.
The term proactivity goes far beyond the scope of any professional activity. It also affects family relationships and friendships, so in the broadest sense, it implies something much more than just professional, family, or friendly activity. It implies that each of us is responsible for our lives. So our behavior, as a reaction to external stimuli, depends only on our decisions, and not on the circumstances. Thus, what happens to us and around us is the result of our decisions, as well as our actions or inactions.
Speaking of responsibility, a proactive leader is characterized by the fact that he never shies away from it. He doesn’t try to justify his behavior, his decisions or actions under the circumstances, since his behavior is the result of conscious choice, which is based on logical conclusions, and not on emotional perception.
Proactivity and reactivity
Each of us is initially a proactive person. If circumstances begin to control your life, you should understand that this happens only because you allow these circumstances to control yourself. To formulate and describe a problem means already half to solve it. Thus, you must admit that it wasn’t circumstances that prevailed over you, but that you yourself allowed circumstances to prevail over you.
When you decide to transfer responsibility into the hands of circumstances, you become reactive, and a reactive person no longer bears responsibility for his life. He becomes a hostage to the opinions of others, decisions made by someone and spontaneous circumstances. If someone says that he will not succeed, he will immediately give up. If someone takes his place in the line, he silently upsets and agrees. If it rains outside the window, his mood immediately deteriorates. He transfers responsibility for his life into the wrong hands.
In turn, proactive people shape their environment by themselves, they decide whether they will succeed or not and are confident that everything will work out. They themselves know and decide what they need to do and decide for themselves how to react to the weather outside. A positive internal attitude and a proactive life position are embedded in their subconscious mind and if such a person gives himself an attitude to a good mood or high-quality work, the results of the tasks will not depend on third parties, nor on the weather outside the window, nor on anything else.
Influence of the social environment
A reactive person, as a rule, is significantly affected by the social environment in which he lives. If others (friends, colleagues or relatives) treat him well, he is in a positive mood and works efficiently. If others have a negative effect on him, his mood fades and his work efficiency decreases. Reactive people in choosing a reaction to external stimuli are guided by emotional perception, which pushes common sense to the background and forces them to make irrational decisions. As for a proactive person, he is characterized by the ability to subordinate emotional perception to logical thinking. It’s certainly influenced by external factors, whether it’s working conditions, the team or the psychological situation, but its main difference from a reactive person is the ability to consciously respond to stimuli, that is, first of all to logically reason how rational this solution will be and what consequences it will entail.
Changing the paradigm
There is a popular expression that says that our life is not determined by the circumstances themselves, but how we react to them. It’s our willingness to follow circumstances that does us more harm than these circumstances themselves. It’s quite difficult to realize and accept this idea, especially if for many years you justified everything that happens to you with external circumstances, or with the actions of third parties, but the first step towards proactivity is to admit that what happens to you is the result of your choice. Once again, try to rethink your attitude to the surrounding reality from the position that you are experiencing discomfort not because of what’s happening, but how you react to what’s happening. Of course, one way or another, there are always a lot of events occurring in our lives that cause us psychological suffering or material difficulties, but this should in no way affect your character, your beliefs or perception of the world around you. Part of the path to becoming a proactive leader, if not in many ways, is to go through life’s upheavals, as through peculiar trials that temper your character.
How does proactivity work
Literally, each of us has in our circle of acquaintances a person who, in any life circumstances, no matter how difficult they were, retained a positive attitude. Admit that such a case and the like always make a strong impression. When you learn the history of this person and it becomes clear to you that in this situation everything is already a foregone conclusion for him, you begin to wonder why his hands have still not dropped. Why has he still not put up with defeat? And of course you already know the answer. Proactivity. It makes a person after a defeat not to fall into despair, but to try again and again. It makes you fight the disease. It makes you after a quarrel not to be offended by a partner, but to be the first to take a step in the direction of reconciliation. A proactive person tries again and wins, fights the disease and gets better, takes the first step and reconcile. Nothing makes such a strong impression on us than the understanding and realization that any person who is at the bottom can not only climb out of problems, but also surpass himself. It all depends on how you look at this world, as a proactive or a reactive person.
The conclusion from all this can be as follows. A proactive person is distinguished from a reactive person by the ability to consciously respond to external stimuli, that is, to decide for himself which response will be more rational in this situation and what consequences it will lead to. A proactive person doesn’t shift responsibility on to someone else. He takes the situation into his own hands, turns off emotions, turns on logical thinking and clear mind, which ultimately allows him to emerge victorious from any difficult situation. This is the way he conquers the hearts of people. This makes a proactive person a leader.
Author – Felix Palmer