You should debate your point in response to two of your peers who had the opposing view. Their view is reactive as mine was proactive…
In my experience, it is better to be proactive than reactive, but through reading for this argument, I discovered that being reactive can be beneficial too. You can find a solution instead of trying to anticipate one by being reactive rather than anticipating. This means knowing exactly what’s at stake and what’s gone wrong. In addition, it keeps you from insinuating or assuming the wrong thing will happen, leading to a frenzy. Creating some space for a reactive mindset opens you up for more creative and innovative work. When plans are not set in stone, you are free to react to new ideas that come to you or make decisions on just-received information in a fluid and quick-thinking way. Oftentimes, these lightning flashes of action and ideas start the most interesting work. For example, there’s a lot of benefit in being reactive instead of proactive when the world is in a state of constant change. Now with the global pandemic, the instability of the economy, and the general uncertainty for the future, it is impossible to proactively plan for all future states. Recognizing what you can and should reasonably plan for and what you must be comfortable in reacting to can help you weather the uncertainty (“The Benefits”, 2021). People with this mindset may sometimes see it as a time and energy saver.
Reactive leadership focuses on problems and how to fix them as they surface. Depending on the industry leaders work in, being reactive may be the better way to be versus being proactive. Some industries, such as manufacturing, have a large amount of positions where the employee performs the same tasks in succession day after day. Leaders of these teams keep their employees on task, without may changes to the protocol. They handle problems as they arise, but don’t need forethought as to how to get to the end goal; they know their goals, know their tasks and deal with extenuating circumstances as they pop up (“Proactive Versus”, 2021) A reactive manager is patient, can analyze the problem quickly, and can identify its root cause. In my opinion, those are great qualities to possess.
All in all, Good managers need to be both proactive and reactive. To treat reactivity as inferior to proactivity is to miss an opportunity to learn and grow. There is room for both in what we do, as long as we recognize that the customer must benefit from any lessons that we learn. After all, when we are reactive to something, are we not also being proactive in building up experience and wisdom for a future situation? Sometimes a change of perspective helps us to see things in a better light (Hall, 2018).
Hall, Stuart (2018). Being Proactive vs Reactive. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/being-proactive-vs-reactive-stuart-hall
Proactive Versus Reactive Leadership. What are the Benefits of Each? (2021), Retrieved from https://leadershipdepot.com/proactive-versus-reactive-leadership-what-are-benefits-of-each/
The Benefits of Being Reactive Instead of Being Proactive. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.madfishdigital.com/blog/the-benefits-of-being-reactive-instead-of-proactive/
I can see how both proactive and reactive change efforts can be successful. For the purposes of this discussion, I was assigned to argue for the reactive change effort.
Being reactive may seem like a bad thing at first glance. However, being reactive can increase innovation and create a more beneficial change (Wromblewski, 2019). Reactive change allows businesses to problem solve in real-time because it creates the need for immediate adaptation (Wromblewski, 2019). Proactively changing can be detrimental because leaders are “guessing” what might happen (Crant, 2020). Planning ahead can be helpful, but it can also be hurtful. There is no way to truly know what changes could make a company successful without trying them out first. Therefore, if a change is created as a reaction to a problem, the change is more likely to solve it. It is also important that all change plans are urgent (Jalagat, 2015). It can be hard to create a sense of urgency for a problem that leadership “sees” coming. If a problem is apparent, less resistance to change is likely to occur (Lin & Carley, 1993). Although more difficult to plan without the precious luxury of time, it is cheaper and may have less information processing costs to reactively change as well (Lin & Carley, 1993). Overall, reactive change may be more beneficial because it allows leadership to pinpoint the need for change, reduces resistance, and saves money.
rant, J. M. (2000). Proactive behavior in organizations. Journal of Management, 26(3), 435-462. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920630002600304
Jalagat, R. (2016). The Impact of Change and Change Management in Achieving Corporate Goals and Objectives: Organizational Perspective. The Impact of Change and Change Management in Achieving Corporate Goals and Objectives: Organizational Perspective, 5(11), 1233-1239. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310828676_The_Impact_of_Change_and_Change_Management_in_Achieving_Corporate_Goals_and_Objectives_Organizational_Perspective
Lin, Z., & Carley, K. (1993). Proactive or reactive: An analysis of the effect of agent style on organizational decision-making performance. Intelligent Systems in Accounting, Finance and Management, 2(4), 271-287. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1099-1174.1993.tb00047.x
Wromblewski, M. (2019, November 15). Being proactive vs. Reactive. Small Business – Chron.com. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/being-proactive-vs-reactive-57503.html