What is Proactive Management?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Proactive management philosophy takes the approach that managers should act first to correct problems or establish sustainable business practices. This philosophy can be somewhat difficult, as it requires more time and communication to achieve goals and objectives. The purpose of proactive management is to develop an organizational structure that does not shirk change or alterations in current business operations. Managers must seek to control every situation, rather than be controlled by situations. Waiting for instructions or directions from a superior is not part of this management philosophy.

Large organizations often include a variety of different management styles and philosophies. This occurs because the firm requires a number of individuals to complete tasks and activities. Many organizations do not control or provide direction on how to complete tasks; they simply provide an opportunity for individuals to employ their own tactics for accomplishing goals. A common management mantra is “you can only expect what you inspect.” This statement provides a clear summary of proactive management. Rather than sitting back and waiting for information to come to them, proactive managers will actively seek out information so they accomplish goals in a timely and efficient manager.


Through proactive management, individuals gather the information necessary to make decisions in a timely manner. This process will also involve the active coordination of the company’s resources. For example, when the proactive manager determines that a department or division is failing to meet predetermined goals, the manager will allocate more resources in a real-time manner to meet the required output. Because this occurs prior to the department finishing production, the proactive manager avoids problems of short supply or inadequate production output. The manager can also seek information as to why the department could not meet stated goals and make changes prior to beginning the next production run of goods.

Essential tenets of proactive management include teamwork, setting goals and communication, both upward and downward. Through teamwork, a proactive manager can assemble a group of individuals who have a mindset similar to her own, creating a proactive management philosophy at multiple layers in the firm. Setting goals is necessary because the proactive manager must have something to strive for in her position. Working aimlessly can result in a reactionary philosophy, where managers are unaware of situations until after they occur. Upward communication allows managers to hear information from employees who complete daily tasks and activities. This helps the manager make well-informed decisions. Downward communication travels from the manager to employees, providing the employees with necessary directions.


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