Leading modules


Module 2 “Am I a leader?” – Leadership skills

Unit 3: Being proactive?
Proactive versus Reactive

We have been talking about what a proactive person or attitude is like. But as with almost everything, there is the opposite side of this behaviour, which is called reactive behaviour.

What do you think it might be about? If a proactive person was getting ahead of problems and was taking action, anticipating and trying to solve the problems before they arise, people having reactive attitude focus on fighting a fire or solving a problem after it occurs.

What is Reactive? The term reactive can be defined as being responsive to something. A person who is reactive usually responds to another, but does not act on himself. Such people do not usually take the initiative in something.

What is Proactive? Proactive refers to being prepared even before an incident takes place. A proactive person takes the initiative and is prepared, unlike a reactive person. He is not lifeless but full of spontaneity.

Watch the following video and on the basis of that, do a self-reflection and decide: Are you a proactive or a reactive person? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tex0zKuLCMg

proactive vs reactive

Take notes and see where could you improve in order to become more successful in your daily life, in your relationship with your followers, in your position as a leader.

If you managed to identify which of the two behaviour types you have, in case there’s room for improvement, you should take into consideration the following:

  • remember not to blame anybody or anything for your possible failures, but learn from them;
  • by doing this, you can improve yourself, you can acquire new knowledge;
  • predict and prevent – anticipate problems and events;
  • plan – your daily activities and stay focused;
  • have clear goals and vision – for example: 1. submitting a business plan, 2. launching a project, 3. learning a new skill – these will drive you while you are working on your daily tasks;
  • maintain and improve your vision and goals:
    • a. set milestones and evaluate your results against them;
    • b. consult with someone whit experience;
    • c. surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same thing as you are.

Nevertheless, it has to be also highlighted, that being a reactive person has no negative connotation. There are times when long time planning can not help you taking the right decisions and or doing the right things. Therefore, to be successful in your business as well as in your life, you should be thinking about adopting both behaviour types in a healthy balance.

Live and/or work circumstances may require to make decisions on the spot, while they occur, while you need to be flexible and adapt to the rapidly changing environments, but don’t forget that, in essence, having a proactive attitude toward things you could improve more rapidly in any area of your life.