Proactive or Reactive? What Your Leadership Style Says About You

What kind of leader are you?

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes; a good way to be successful is to understand your own leadership style. The process of discovering who you are as a leader can be broken down in many ways. There are two conflicting types that encompass most leaders: proactive and reactive. Let’s take a closer look at both.

The Reactive Leader

A reactive leader…

  • Makes decisions on his/her own
  • Veers toward punishment when mistakes happen
  • Uses rules to make decisions
  • Reacts to change as it happens

As a reactive leader, you generally feel an extreme sense of urgency at work. You may even feel like you’re in a constant state of chaos. You’re constantly putting out fires and reacting to problems as they occur. You may feel like you have to do everything on your own. Reactive leaders take each situation as they come and act based on the most recent information. As the word says, reactive leaders react; they do not respond.

Since these types of leaders are more likely to make independent decisions, their teams tend to feel controlled instead of feeling valued. This can negatively impact the flow of your team as a whole.

The Proactive Leader

A proactive leader…

  • Delegates tasks and leans heavily on collaboration
  • Helps team members learn from mistakes and failures
  • Uses principles to make decisions
  • Foresees and influences change

Proactive leaders are much more focused on achieving results with the help of their team rather than trying to take the brunt of everything on their own. A proactive leader understands how useful it is to tap into the knowledge of the entire team. They tend to gain more respect from his/her team and colleagues and are able to better coach them as well.

The proactive leader, feels better prepared to tackle issues head on. In fact, he/she probably already has a contingency plan in place before a situation occurs. Overall, this is a much more effective and stress-free way to conduct business.

Finding a Balance

The best leaders are able to adjust their leadership style depending on the situation at hand. In most scenarios, reactive leadership is not the way to go. It’s true that the leader has to deal with tasks on his/her own sometimes, however, it is important to always remember that they can depend on their team to deliver faster, better results.

Take the First Step Toward Becoming a Better Leader Today

At MarCan Coaching & Consulting, our goal is to help transitioning executives and high-potential leaders become the best they can be. We help you unleash the power you already hold to make a real impact and achieve your goals. If you’re ready to take your leadership strategy to the next level, connect with our executive and leadership coaches to get started today.


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