Management Tactics to Improve Pro-Activity

How do you inspire your employees to do more?

You want your employees to move faster, do more, follow-up on opportunities and complete action items, but how can you inspire them to do it on their own?  If you are tired of getting month end reports without any substance and want your employees to generate results on a daily basis, here is an essential management tactic you can use to improve your employee’s pro-activity.

Get ready for it….it is shockingly simple…your commitment to it is the only thing necessary to make it a success.

The best way to get your employees to be proactive on a daily basis is to talk to them every day.  Crazy concept I know, but there is a twist.  It is what you say and the consistency of your behavior that will make the difference.  Here is what you can do to improve employee pro-activity.

The consistency of your behavior matters:

If you are in the same building, on the road, or have decentralized employees…no matter where they or you are located, call them at roughly the same time every day, every other day or once a week.  You decide how proactive you want them to be and that is how often you should be calling.  But the consistency your behavior is what is important.  They need to come to expect your call.

Here is what you say when you call, every time you call:

“So…what do you have for me?”  At first there will be silence.  You may get a response like “what are you talking about?”.  Be prepared to push the conversation by asking, “what are today’s updates?”  “What is the status of x, y or z?”  “Tell me something exciting that you are working on.”  By pushing this dialog you will spark a nerve in your employee.  After they give you some update on their day, ask them “Do you need anything from me?”

Make sure you take notes when your employee asks for support:

If they do need something from you, make sure you do it and follow-up with them the next time you call. Lead by example to show the urgency of your work.

Don’t get pulled into doing all the talking:

Employees have a way of getting their boss to do all the talking, getting updates on things going on above them in the hierarchy.  Don’t get caught up in this trap.  You are calling for one reason.  The call should be short and to the point; your job is to listen, not report to them.

Give out praise for accomplishments:

When your employee gives an update, show your enthusiasm for their work.

Give out silence for their lack of productivity:

When an employee has nothing to report, keep your contact brief, ask a question if you have it from previous updates, and express your interest in a more productive day next time you speak.  Then move on to your next call.

Why does this management tactic work?

  • Your employees will start to expect your calls.
  • They will not want to be in a position were they are not able to respond to you.
  • They will start taking notes of their accomplishments each day, preparing for their briefing and seeking your enthusiastic approvals of their work.
  • Good employees will become great ones.
  • Poor employees will either move forward or move themselves out of the line of fire.

What are some additional benefits of this tactic?

  • Work will get done faster, without surprises and with more collaboration.
  • You will have the opportunity to coach employees when needed and break down barriers to getting things done outside of their scope of ability.
  • You will be well informed on your department issues when you are talking to your own management.
  • Weekly and monthly reporting will be streamlined and some even eliminated.  Your employees will no longer be adding fluff to reports; results and future actions are all that will be necessary to keep the dialog moving forward.
  • The more efficient you get at this process, the shorter the amount of time it will take to accomplish it and the more productive you will be, as well as your employees.

This management tactic may seem simple, but it takes your determination to make it work.  Try it, be consistent, and make it a part of your routine.  You will see results immediately and over time your employees will appreciate the personal support, the recognition, and the clarity of direction they will gain from your time.

I hope this perspective is helpful to you in your day-to-day life.  Test out these concepts and share your results with us.  Others can benefit from your experiences.  Good luck!


Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of

Lisa is a dynamic business leader & author located in Western New York with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she partners with business leaders to understand their vision, identify internal and external roadblocks, define a practical strategic path forward and guide a successful transformation. This work includes strategy definition & goal setting, organizational design, facilitating team buy-in, establishing visual metrics, internal and external research studies, business feasibility assessments, and investor insight into organizational strength, weakness & strategic opportunity. She helps business leaders drive growth & increase profits.

Strategic Consulting ǀ Management Consulting: Strategy Realized

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