Sustainable Success Lies in Proactive Leadership

Proactive leadership is when we are intentional about developing our direct reports. We teach our followers all the time – not just when it’s convenient. Our mission is for these direct reports to one day take our place and multiply so that the company grows through the growth of its people. Proactive leadership requires intentionality and time; it takes months and years to groom new leaders.

Reactive leadership, on the other hand, is when we are intentional about the production of our direct reports. We care more about the profits they are bringing in rather than how they are developing their teams to produce. Now, I’m not saying production isn’t important. Production is essential, but producers fall off over time, and they can’t reproduce other producers if they don’t have leadership skills. Reactive leaders spend their time telling others what to do rather than developing them into who they should become.

Proactive leadership cultures experience growth that increases in momentum and brings long-term sustainability.

Reactive leadership cultures always need a boss around to tell others what to do; therefore, their success isn’t sustainable. Reactive leadership continually focuses on the outside market rather than the internal development of its people, who coincidentally, are responsible for caring for the outside market.

Does your organization have a proactive or a reactive leadership culture?

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  • Earl Breon says:


    I recently had this blog shared with me by my boss, I’ll just call him Dan and you will probably know from that.

    Anyway, excellent blog and definitely one I will be following. I particularly like this because it reminds me of two quotes I love:

    “Leadership is judged more by how your team performs when you are gone than how they perform when you are there.” Meaning, if you lead them well they will lead themselves. If you lead them poorly they will not be able to stand on their own once you have left.

    “When I die, I’d rather have future generations asking why they did not build a statue in my honor than asking why they did.” Meaning, make you sure you build a legacy instead of a reputation. Reputations are ever changing and, often, perspective based. Legacies are solid and considered to be more of a fact than reputations are.

    Great writing that makes for great reading! You have a new follower.

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Earl, so glad to have you following! Thanks for your comments, I love the reputation or legacy quote. So true. Thanks for sharing and adding value to this post.

  • Juan Arroyo says:

    Linda,I found this post thought provoking. It has a different take on developing vs equipping.

    Makes me wonder about those managers that focus on teaching people how to get something done only when the deadline is coming. Their focus is more on delivering a product rather than teaching people how to think about the product, it’s purpose and the goal.

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Juan, I agree! When we give someone a project it’s the ideal time to grow the person’s skills in the area of team leadership, working in our strength zone along with facilitating teammate’s strengths AND of course how to handle the added stress of bringing home results.

      Thanks for your comments!