While there are many different philosophies of management, two of the most prominent ones are the Proactive and Reactive types of management. Proactive management involves planning in advance for a change or crises whereas reactive management involves the management actions initiated as a reaction to a change or crisis that has already occurred. According;y, a proactive manager is one who proactively capitalizes on the business opportunities and equally focuses on the advance identification and elimination of any risks that are likely to occur in the existing business while a Reactive Manager is the one who takes decisions and actions after the occurrence of a problem or an event.
Planning ahead for the future is essential for the existence and growth of any organization. The top management of the company should be proactive in defining its long-term and short-term goals and ensure that they are well aligned with the company’s strategic vision. They should be able to effectively hone the entrepreneurship skills of the employees to proactively develop the business opportunities and establish systems which shall promote proactive management practices in the day-to-day activities of the company.
The key element for establishing a proactive management system is the availability of required information. A proactive manager identifies the sources of information required for managing the business in a proactive manner and institutes mechanisms to ensure the availability of this information as required. For example, a proactive manager may gather the information required for business development through seminars, constructive engagements with existing customers, industry news letters etc. A proactive Project Manager may also employ appropriate tools and techniques to identify the risks in the business and implement the actions required to mitigate them.
A proactive manager remains open towards changes and practices change management techniques to implement changes which are needed for the sustenance and growth of the business. The very proactive nature of a manager to actively participate in the team tasks may inspire the team members to be more innovative and productive in their areas of work. A proactive manager understands the importance of development of employee skills and plans their enhancement in advance to meet the short-term and long-term goals of the company. In the case of project management, the actions taken by a company towards implementing a proactive project management approach shall increase the trust and confidence of the customer, which in turn shall translate in to better customer relationship and future business prospects. A proactive manager needs to have analytic skills and must be able to identify the strengths, weakness, opportunities and risks from the pattern of available information or data and implement methods to address each one of these areas so as to create a positive outcome.
Being a proactive manager does not mean that one has to exercise strict control on all the activities of the team. However necessary channels may have to be established to obtain the information required for proactive decision-making in a timely manner to facilitate appropriate management actions. Both proactive management and reactive management could be practiced separately or in a combined manner. The more we practice proactive management the lesser will be the losses and the requirement for reactive management. More often than not it is the practice of proactive management principles that gives better return for the company which explains the reason for this to be the preferred form of management for the present day organizations.