CHAPTER 7Be responsive, not reactive

You may think like to think of yourself as a highly responsive leader, but your team may disagree. I was working with an insurance company senior executive, his EA and his operations manager to boost the productivity of the three of them as a unit. The coaching sessions were well received, and the leader was open to new ways of working to get on top of a huge role with many moving parts. Everyone was positive and keen to develop a more productive way of working.

In one of the coaching sessions, the leader had to leave 15 minutes early because of an unavoidable meeting clash. The remaining three of us decided to stay on to agree to an action plan. While the leader's team was very positive about how the leader worked with them when he was in the room, as soon as the door closed, what was really happening came out, loud and clear!

It turned out the leader, in the eyes of the two people that he worked most closely with, was extremely reactive, and this was making their life hell. He was spending way too much time in meetings that he really did not need to attend, was rarely available to his direct reports, was constantly dropping urgent last-minute requests on everyone, and was usually catching up on emails at 11 pm at night, creating a feeling that they should all be responding at that time.

As a leader, you must be responsive, not reactive. This means you deal with things in a timely way, setting the tone for proactivity within your team. ...

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