Becoming a Proactive Leader

For those of you that have not read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Steven R. Covey, it is a wonderful read that I would highly recommend.  It is a self-help book, but its concepts can also be applied to leaders in how they lead their organizations.  For the next few weeks, I will be talking about various concepts in this book and how they can apply to certain ideas of organizational leadership.

Habit #1: Be Proactive

Proactive – relating to, caused by, or being interference between previous learning and the recall or performance of later learning; acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.

The premise of this habit is based on the fact that we are all created with the ability to be self-aware, a trait that separates us from animals.  As human beings, we are created with the abilities to (1) think about our own thought processes, (2) evaluate and learn from ours and others’ experiences, and (3) take initiatives and make things happen if we choose to.

I believe the way organizations react to change can be an important determinant in their success.  In the competitive business world today, leaders constantly face pressures to help their organizations be more profitable and stay ahead of their competitors.   Technology today is advancing at an increasingly rapid pace, and the acceptance of technological changes can easily help small businesses level the playing field with larger organizations.

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Ghandi

Now, imagine that you are the new CEO of a large organization that is beginning to decline due to changes in the industry.  Do you blame these circumstances on external factors, or do you evaluate your organization and see how you can adapt to these changes?  The difference between a proactive leader and a non-proactive leader comes from their outlook on situations like these.  A non-proactive leader will say “there’s nothing I can do,” where as a proactive leader would say “let’s look at the alternatives.”  Great leaders find ways to make their organizations successful because they are proactive leaders who take the initiative to make the changes they want to see.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to share your thoughts.


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