- New Horizons in Management series
Chapter 11: Leadership influences on proactivity
A worker with a proactive personality is likely to engage in proactive behavior that enhances individual and organizational productivity. Yet the leader can also exert an important influence on the extent to which this proactivity emerges. Chapter 1 included a preliminary discussion of how the leader can enhance proactive behavior through such means as encouraging self-efficacy, providing workers with flexible work roles, granting empowerment and autonomy, and contributing to high-quality leader–member exchanges. A recent analysis of individual differences and leadership suggests that the leader has a role in developing proactivity among followers. Jenna Fagna, the president of Tequila Avión, illustrates how a leader can facilitate workers becoming more proactive. She says that as a younger manager she was too prescriptive by telling subordinates exactly what she wanted them to do. Gradually Fagna realized that workers achieve things in different ways. In her present leadership role, she attempts to step back and say, “Here’s what we’re going for. Just go and do it.” Fagna has found that if she takes that approach, more times than not, the person will do much more than she expected. Equally important, the worker will be proactive enough to figure out a much better way to get the task done.
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