Traits of Proactive Leaders


Business leaders are faced with challenging situations every day. How they respond to those challenges is often influenced by whether they take a proactive or reactive approach to leadership. What’s the difference? A proactive leader anticipates challenges and has a plan for handling them. A reactive leader waits for challenges to arise, and then struggles to overcome them. Check out these top five traits of proactive leaders:

  1. Big picture thinkers. Proactive leaders spend the bulk of their time learning from the past and planning for the future. They rarely get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the present.
  2. Calm within the storm. Leaders who are proactive rarely lose control. They are like the eye of a hurricane. Even when they are in the middle of a crisis, they are able to maintain their composure and adjust their positions as needed. Their excellent problem-solving and communication skills, combined with their calm demeanor, help them navigate their teams through difficult situations.
  3. Surrounded by talent. Proactive leaders value their teams and go to great lengths to ensure that they can count on the people around them. They recognize the importance of varying viewpoints and are open to new ideas. They aren’t afraid to ask for help when they need it because they respect the people they’re asking.
  4. Intentional. Proactive leaders rarely do anything by accident. They are highly organized and goal-oriented. They are master delegators who understand that empowered team members will elevate the success of the entire business.
  5. Trust-worthy. The most important characteristic of any leader is trust. Proactive leaders trust their teams and, in turn, inspire loyalty. They don’t make promises they can’t keep, and when they make a mistake (which all leaders do), they own it.

Of course, not even the most effective leaders can anticipate every challenge that crosses their desk. Crises happen, that’s just part of business. The difference is that proactive leaders approach a crisis with calm determination rather than chaotic panic. If you currently live in a state of reaction, you can’t expect to become a proactive leader overnight. In time, however, you can adjust your approach to reap the benefits of proactive leadership.

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