How to Be a Proactive Manager

Years ago, I shadowed a night manager at a large grocery store chain. She didn’t sit down a single time during her entire eight hour shift. She tackled problem after problem, putting out fires. I was completely exhausted by the end of it, and asked her how she did it. She said, “Well, I’ve been here six months and I’ve lost 20 pounds without dieting.”

The reason why her shift was so chaotic was that she was managing by being reactive, rather than proactive. To some extent, this is inevitable because of the role—you never know when a customer is going to throw a fit because you’re out of her favorite dog food, or when a delivery truck will come in late. Still, there are ways to prepare for some disasters.

Many of us spend far too much time being reactive rather than proactive managers. If we can maximize how often we think proactively, our lives—and our customers’ lives—become easier. Here’s how to make the switch:

To keep reading, click here: How to Be a Proactive Manager

And note to self: maybe I should quit writing and become a night manager in a grocery store. I could stand to lose 20 pounds.

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2 thoughts on “How to Be a Proactive Manager

  1. Frankly, it’s nonsense like this that convinced me to avoid management or supervisory roles. Living that dream for six months, even once, was too much. I had kids at home, and didn’t want to deal with “children” at work too.

  2. I personally lived that life of a supervisor in a grocery store for over 20 years and it never got better even using “proactive’ tactics. The only time “proactive” tactics worked is when I replaced the entire crew, eliminating all who had bad work performance. The problem in this specific setting is that there isn’t a team effort push by all management across the hours of operations. There’s many a manager who would rather have the non-productive body present than deal with corrective tactics. To last as long as I did, I learned to pick the battle I wanted to fight and work around those, I had no recourse to fix. In truth, when I started working 2 jobs because of financial need and had to become very effective in the job duties, I became very intolerant of those who scammed the job performance. There’s no I in the word team, and since one of the members of the team was deliberately not doing their fair share, I made found effective methods to deal with their deficiencies. Like adjusting the schedule, especially when they developed a predictable tendency to call out for the weekend scheduled shifts. I merely cut that day off their schedule and kept cutting all the days off their schedule they had problems working until they realized they only had bare minimum hours ( 12 hours total as union required minimum). When they asked for more hours, I told them about the 24 hours of shift available on the weekend but they didn’t want those hours as they wanted to only work Monday through Thursday at certain hours of the day, plus those days were the slowest and required the least amount of staffing. The choice was theirs, work when needed or work when they felt like. Efficiency rose using this kind of “proactive” tactic. It also helps to keep documentation of performance issues, like lateness, call-outs, etc. to prevent having to prolong acceptance of poor performance which other management failed to do.

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