Proactive: Having the Courage to Lead
There were three men who faced a dire situation. The elements of nature threatened their safety. Each man had an illness that deprived him of his health and endangered his longevity. With their food supply dwindling, the men’s hopes diminished. One man rose abruptly from the ground with determination etched like stone in his face. He rallied the men to get up and head into the nearest town. His rationale was that they could stay where they were, give up and die or take a risk and move forward. When the men reached the city, they found the resources needed to help tem. Had they not have followed the lead of their comrade, their progress and advancement would have been stagnated. They refused to miss their window of opportunity.
Courage is a core characteristic that you must have as a leader. You will be faced with several situations that will require you to take a risk. Your intellect may bring up every negative reason why it will not work, but your instinct will tell you why it can be done.
Will you stay in your comfort zone, or will you be ready to with the courage to move forward into the next level of your leadership?
Leaders must learn how to be proactive.
The 8 Ps of Exceptional Leadership Blog Series
PRINCIPLE #5: PROACTIVE
What It Means: Have courage. Step up to the plate. Facilitate an environment of
clarity and understanding for those who look to you for
leadership. Be highly visible during tough and turbulent times.
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” ~Peter F. Drucker
Entrepreneurs are an excellent model of study when it comes to understanding the importance of being proactive. These passionate individuals have the courage to take risks to start a company with limited resources. They hope to grow their customer base and become a corporate force. So they step out on faith and transform the impossible into the possible.
By being proactive, leaders must learn how to maneuver through tough times. When an overwhelming situation arises, they will be faced with the fight or flight response. A new product or logo design causes a decline in sales revenue. The next budget cycle for the upcoming year is at a deficit, and a decision must be made on whether staff or programs will be cut. Customers have bombarded the company’s social media channels with negative feedback. Now the company’s reputation and brand are at stake.
Leaders must have the courage to make strategic decisions to manage these difficulties and encourage their staff to maintain positivity, hope and integrity. They must also realize that everyone will not agree with their decisions. Being a leader means forgoing popularity and a people-pleasing attitude and choosing to be proactive for the overall well-being of the organization.
To better understand the principle of being proactive, let’s examine it further through its key qualities:
Problem-Solver: Proactive leaders can examine a situation from all sides and devise quick solutions.
Responsive Proactive leaders respond to a problem, not react.
Organized Proactive leaders must have organization in order to function well inside of chaos.
Ally Proactive leaders know everyone’s strengths and rely on them when needed.
Calm Demeanor Proactive leaders exhibit resolve and maintain their composure in any situation.
Think Strategically Proactive leaders make decisions and consider their long-term implications.
Inspirational Proactive leaders galvanize everybody around them and encourage them to remain focused and diligent.
Vision Proactive leaders make sure all decisions uphold the integrity of the company’s brand and protect the company’s vision.
Excellent Communicator Proactive leaders establish a dialogue with their staff so that everyone knows what they are doing.
Leaders who are proactive align themselves to the path that leads to success.
A Thought for Reflection
“Greatness is measured by its depth, impact and positive influence on others.” ~Barbara Tolliver-Haskins
Being proactive is a sign of great leaders. Leaders leave their mark on their staff and their environment. It is up to them to decide if their influence is positive or negative. Leaders should assess their performance quarterly to ensure that they are stepping up to the occasion and truly facilitating an environment full of clarity, openness and understanding.
How can you be more proactive?
One way you can answer this question is to conduct a SWOT leadership analysis. Many businesses use this type of assessment to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a strategy they seek to implement. You can adapt it to assess the current state of your leadership. The acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What area(s) in your leadership do you need to be more proactive? Think about every decision and task you have selected so far this year. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What opportunities do you want to seek and implement? What are some behaviors or processes that can become a threat in facilitating an environment full of clarity and understanding?
Once you have filled out the SWOT analysis, see if there are areas where you need to take more risks to lead effectively. Be proactive and decide how you can improve your leadership skills.
Navigating the Course to the Next Principle
Leaders realize that they must show courage, facilitate clarity and understanding and take risks during tough and turbulent times. Their ability to be proactive can be hindered if they are not consistent in their decision-making.
Our next principle will illustrate how leaders must be authentic and approachable when they are carrying out their responsibilities.
Need a plan of action to develop exceptional outcomes in your leadership or clarify those factors that may impede your personal brand? Executive Coaching Solutions will help you discover those unique talents and attributes that will enable you to rise to the top. Contact me today for an introductory consultation on how we can help you to be “all that you can be.”