Have you ever been in a situation where you saw a leader take a specific action, yet you had no idea "why" or "how" the leader decided to take that specific action? Well, I have too! That's why I decided to study various leaders that I have worked with over 22 years and before long, I started to get insights into why leaders do what they do. More importantly, I started to understand that what a leader does is much deeper than the specific action he takes.

The action is normally tied to an outcome or result that she wants to accomplish, yet it may not make sense when viewing it from a "present" moment perspective. This is why most people are standing around scratching their heads, watching leaders execute, yet they do not understand "why" the leader is doing what she is doing.

I wanted to understand "why," so this article is the 1st of over 100 leadership insights that I have experienced in my career and that I intend to share with other leaders. Up first, leaders must be proactive and not reactive.

Being proactive is a mindset... a choice! It is the difference between being ahead in the game versus being behind. Leaders ask questions like, "What can I do right now to get me going in the right direction," or "What can I do right now that will ensure a successful outcome or result?"

Leaders choose to make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen. Leaders embrace a "what comes next" mentality where they are always thinking about next steps and next moves. Leaders think "chess" not "checkers" - what is the next move, after the next move?

If you think in terms of the game of chess and the strategy used by championship players, you will get the idea. In operational terms, tactical moves are focused on what's right in front of you - the next task or action that must be accomplished.

Operational moves are focused on setting the conditions for success in the near term - ensuring tactical success. Strategic moves are focused on game-changing, directional moves that fundamentally impact where you're going, what you do, and how you do it.

Being proactive is not solely about "not" being reactive. Proactiveness is intentionally taking the initiative to use every resource at your disposal to anticipate and take action on what you should be doing next.

Author's Bio: 

Vernon Myers is the founder of 100 Leadership Insights, a site dedicated to observing, reflecting, gaining insight, and taking action on leadership insights. I am seeking to connect with people who have ideas, insights, and leadership experiences to share.

Vernon is also the author of The Idea Journal visit Get The Idea Journal to find out how to unleash your urge to create.

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