Inactive, Reactive, or Proactive Leaders

By Paul Joiner


Reactive leaders lead from behind.

 

Innovation, creativity, and planning are not on the side of the Reactive. They lost those benefits yesterday.

 

They are catching up, doing today what should have been done at a previously appointed time.

 

Today suffers. Its full potential is now lost. 

 

Reactive leaders are surviving to succeed.

 

There will be successes, but not at the level that might have been reached.

 

Their reach is more like a grasp, hanging on to whatever they can to redeem today that which should have been accomplished yesterday.

 

They are “in the nick of time” leaders who are living in the last minute, unprepared, and unimaginative now. Instead, they could be reaping the benefits of living in the well-imagined, well-defined, well-planned, and well-executed now.

 

REACTIVE LIVING: Reacting emotionally and operationally to the day’s issues that could have previously been addressed.

 

Learn to live in a well-imagined, well-defined, well-planned now, instead of a last-minute, unprepared, unimaginative now.

 

Lack of planning:

  • Behind schedule
  • Unprepared for the day at hand
  • Always catching up
  • Last Minute management
  • Mistakes busyness for business
  • Reacts to the most pressing matter
  • Disconnected to innovative staff
  • Connected to positional staff
  • Urgent issues of the day trump the important issues of business

 

Reactive leaders are never content to suffer alone in the turmoil of their unprepared day.

 

They share it with those whom they call on to drop what they are doing to help save their mismanaged day.

 

The domino effect of such action is far reaching, especially if this pattern is habitual, and eventually the integrity of the processes and plans of the entire organization are thrown out the window to address the madcap mania of the Reactive leader’s day. Now the team is forced to join their Reactive leader, managing their work from behind instead of proactively pursuing their best work.

 

REACTIVE FALLOUT

 

The more REACTIVE you are, the more INACTIVE others around you become. They become reactive if a) it doesn’t pay to plan ahead, or b) it appears you resent or do not respect the plan ahead.

 

Reactive leaders do not HONOR time, honor the system, honor the structure, honor others, honor the money, or honor the opportunities.

 

So what happens?

 

Eventually, the staff of a highly Reactive leader does not feel their work, effort, purpose, or input is honored.

 

If you are a Reactive leader you cultivate a culture of FEAR.

 

Because the work environment you propagate is one that is hurried, pressurized, urgent, and tense, your staff’s goal is to stay off your radar and out of your crosshairs. They are no longer willing to put their neck out and on the line for something you will not honor, will question, or feel they have done without your blessing. They grow tired, give up, become inactive, and wait for your prompting. 

 

How does the Reactive respond? The cycle starts all over again. The frustrated Reactive steps outside of the organization to bring in a fresh, proactive face to save him from that which his increasingly inactive staff is no longer willing to do.

 

Reactive leaders create a culture of fear.

 

INACTIVE LEADERS (Inactive Living)

 

Inactive leaders want to make a decision another day.

 

The Inactive lives in the moment. Fully engaged. Fully attentive. But when that moment is gone, so, too, is action.

 

They are present in the moment. When the moment passes, they are missing in action.

 

Ideas, issues, and initiatives are embraced. Decisions are not. What needs to be done today is put off to another day. But a can kicked down the road must sooner or later be addressed.

 

They are “seat of their pants” leaders who are living in the last minute, unprepared, and unimaginative now. Instead, they could be reaping the benefits from living in the well-imagined, well-defined, well-planned, and well-executed now.

 

Kicking the can, kicked their behind.

 

INACTIVE LIVING

  • Present in the moment only
  • Procrastinates
  • Focuses on fun of job, not on function of job
  • Worries others will not agree with their decisions
  • Delegates in theory but not in practice
  • Concealment—doesn’t want staff to know they are not keeping up
  • Disconnected to innovative staff
  • Connected to positional staff

 

Inactive leaders are just catching up, dealing today with the issues that could have been decided upon yesterday.

 

And now the pressure is on to salvage what they can.

 

The domino effect of such inaction causes a high level of frustration in all who work around them.

 

The Proactive see that now you are dumbing down “what could have been” to “what we need to do to salvage this quickly,” and you are losing them.  

 

INACTIVE FALLOUT

 

Inactive leaders do not value time, value the system, value the structure, value others, value the money, or value the possibilities. If the Inactive doesn’t understand the true accumulative value of their staff’s deliverables, they ignore them.

 

So what happens?

 

The more INACTIVE you are, the more REACTIVE others around you become.

 

You cultivate a culture of FRUSTRATION.

 

Because of your out-of-sight-out-of-mind leadership, your staff’s goal is to get on your radar and in your crosshairs—to capture your attention and commandeer your emotions—thus they become reactive in hopes of motivating you to action.

 

They are no longer willing to put their neck out and on the line for something you do not appear to value, and are afraid to move forward without your blessing because of past reactions from you, like, “I wish you had waited for me to make a decision on that.” After they grow weary of creatively scheming to get your attention, they grow tired, give up, become inactive, and wait for your prompting. 

 

How does the Inactive respond? The cycle starts all over again. The frustrated Inactive feels guilty for the lack of leadership and steps outside of the organization to take the pressure off and find a fresh, proactive worker to save him from that which his increasingly inactive staff is frustrated of doing.

 

PROACTIVE LEADERS (Active Leading)

 

A Proactive leader is living and leading in a moment that was orchestrated long ago.

 

They are “right on time” leaders who are living in the prepared, imaginative, and innovative present. They are reaping the benefits of a well-defined, well-planned, and well-executed day.

 

PROACTIVE LIVING

  • Lives in the present that was planned and strategized in the past
  • Values the system
  • Honors roles
  • Communicated to all who needed to operate in this moment
  • Plans the expected to allow for the unexpected
  • Understands the healthy pace of proactivity and does not get ahead of the planning (Proactivity follows a plan, never before.)
  • Focuses on what can be done, not on what can’t be done
  • Acknowledges the operational systems and workflow of the organization
  • Patient with the progress of others
  • Ready, but not annoyingly ahead of schedule

 

They honor their staff and all co-workers who play a role in the greater outcome and success of the organization. They value protocols, procedures, and planning that they believe, if followed, will create a final product of higher worth.

 

They understand they can only act on what they know, not on what they don’t. Therefore, they act, move forward, and enable and encourage their staff to do the same. Being proactive means you move forward and uphold the decisions that were made and adhere to the dates decisions need to be made.

 

A Proactive leader understands that they can’t control the unexpected but can control and manage the expected. If the company has great expectations for a product, project, or program, then expectations must be set, and acted upon, to guarantee success.

 

And when the unexpected comes calling, there is usually time to accommodate its demands when you are living in the moment that is running itself due to good planning and coordination.

 

If you want to do great things, you must be proactive. If you want to do bigger things than you thought possible, you must proactively go after them.

 

Remember, the longer the runway, the bigger the aircraft that can successfully take off from it. 


 

Inactive leaders create a culture of frustration.

Reactive leaders create a culture of fear.

Proactive leaders create a cultural force.

— Paul Joiner


Receive Paul's Email Updates

SIGNUP
Book Paul to speak at your event or training

© Copyright 2018 Paul Joiner. All Rights Reserved.



Bradford Rogne Photography, Los Angeles CA

Login »

inactive_reactive_or_proactive_leaders
122
288
1