Reactive vs. Proactive
More often than not we spend some time each day being ‘reactive’and at other times, more proactive. However, when activities, events, requests and tasks are constantly making demands on your time, it is easy to get into a mode where you continually react to events, rather than creating a working environment which is proactive.
In other words, the day manages you, rather than you managing your day!
So what’s the difference?
This is when you:
- Wait until issues arise, before taking charge of a situation
- Wait for team members to come to you with issues rather pre-empting through regular check-ins or team huddles
- Deciding not to plan because there’s no point as any plan you create seems to go off track as the day runs away with you!
- Spend your time fire-fighting, rather than looking strategically at issues.
Reactive management is sometimes necessary; it’s when it becomes the norm, leaving you feeling like you are no longer in control of your day, your team and your performance, that it becomes a problem.
This is about:
- Predicting the fire before it sets alight!
- Planning and pre-empting, stepping back, looking at all angles and taking a strategic view. This could be weekly, daily, even hourly!
- Becoming your own satnav, re-routing to avoid congestion where possible.
- Keeping in touch with what’s happening, while still enabling your team to get on with their jobs.
- Creating and seizing opportunities to enhance what your team does and how they do it.
Proactive management takes time, effort and forward planning which in itself seems to make no sense! How can you plan for the unpredictable?
Actually, when taking a step back, the ad hoc events which can throw a curve ball and take performance off track are usually predictable i.e. we know they will happen, we just don’t know when!
The art of proactive management centres on rigour and discipline. It involves routine planning sessions and collaboration with team members, peers and senior managers. It requires a habit of reflection, looking for trends and anticipating likely patterns of behaviour and activity and above all, It requires the creation of contingency plans for all known, but unpredictable, situations.