Response Or Reaction?

dreamstime_xs_42111776 copySometimes in a rush or the heat of a moment, we can forget that we have choice in how we communicate with others. A big lesson for me has been discerning the difference between response and reaction in my communications. Reaction is defined as an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event. Response is a reply or an answer. The difference between the two may be subtle, but can make a huge difference.

The way I’ve come to see this is, when something provokes a reaction in me, it is best that I settle and center before I communicate. A reaction is not under my control when it is an unconsidered or emotional one. Reaction is provoked by an action or feeling. A response, in contrast, is of my own making.

Here’s an example: if someone is upset with me, a natural reaction may be to lash back defensively. However, this could escalate the conversation in ways I do not want, especially in a work situation. My reaction is caused by their heightened emotions, not what I want to do. In contrast, a response is considered and dictated by me. The next time an opportunity presents itself, try responding instead of reacting. I think you’ll see its merits.


photo: Yuryz,

Everyone Is Texting

ID-100225423Do you find yourself looking down a lot – at your phone? There have been many changes in our business communication styles. How are you adjusting to them? Do they serve or hinder you as a manager?

You do have choice in how and when you communicate – exercise it. Communications styles do not have to be dictated to you. Choose the style of communication that allows you to be fully present in the moment and to communicate effectively. You may not be able to use your chosen style of communication, every time. However, you may be surprised how often you can, when you exercise your choice.

photo: debspoons,

Ten Times That It’s Best To Stay Silent At Work

1. When you do not have the facts of a situation

2. When your emotions are running high

3. When you have nothing to say

4. When a situation is volatile and you haven’t thought through the risks of speaking up

5. When you are tired and there’s no request that you speak up

6. When the person you would speak to is highly emotional and you see a way to avoid or delay speaking with them until things calm down

7. When someone is making a fool of themselves

8. When you have nothing good to say

9. When what you’d like to say will needlessly cause harm

10. When the person won’t hear you, even if you do speak up


photo: stock images,

What Is Your Management Style?

 Self-awareness is a major advantage in managing. Every manager has a style, whether conscious of it, or not. What is your management style? Here are a few questions to get you started in answering this question.

• Do you give higher priority to people or results?

• How important is open communication to you?

• Is equality or authority more important to you?

• Would you say you are calm or high energy?

• How have others described your management style? Do you agree?

You don’t have to fit into pre-determined categories, or fit a mold, in order to know your management style. What’s important is that you that you manage consciously and effectively.


photo:Master isolated images,

Facing Up To It

Do you have something pulling at you, that you don’t want to “face up” to?

Up front, I have to say I am often slow at facing up. I will avoid it for a while. It takes me some time to find an approach that I can pursue confidently.

Is there anything pulling at you now that you’d be better off facing up to? Perhaps it is an uncomfortable situation with a co-worker or team member, a feeling that you are no longer a fit with what you are doing, a problem that needs your attention or something you need to do, but have been avoiding. The ironic thing about facing up is that often it is more uncomfortable avoiding it, than it is facing it. The situation builds up in your mind and can be blown out of proportion. Very quickly, these situations become energy drains.

Facing up asks you first to reach clarity regarding the situation and identify what it is causing your discomfort. Once you have clarity, you can look at your options for handling the situation. Facing up is not the easiest thing to do. However, by doing it, you will find yourself free and able to move in a lighter energy, as you manage.

What can you face up to in the next week?

photo: ambro,

10 Tips For Handling A Difficult Conversation

1) Put yourself in the other person’s place and consider what it would be like to hear what you plan to say.

2) Identify your goals for the conversation, its purpose and what you want to achieve by having it.

3) Think about the person you will be talking with and craft an approach that fits their personality, without comprising what you want to communicate.

4) Identify where you are most vulnerable in the conversation (e.g. you have fear of having it; you do not have a strong justification for your position).

5) Anticipate the person’s possible reactions to what you have to say and what you will do about them.

6) Visualize yourself having the conversation with a positive outcome or practice having it.

7) Craft the conversation to assure that what you say and what you are asking are clear.

8) During the conversation, ask the person if what you are saying is clear to them and listen to their responses.

9) Develop an effective exit strategy, in case the conversation gets out of hand.

10) Release attachment to a specific outcome and keep yourself in the present moment.


photo: Salvatore Vuono,

Centering Is Good Business Strategy

Recently, I was coaching with a manager who encountered a serious business situation. Her response would have significant affect on her future and the future of her company. She was wise enough to know that a hasty reply to the e-mail she received would not be the best way forward. At the same time, she was concerned and wanted to get the situation under control quickly. She decided she needed to sleep on it and give herself time to determine the best strategy in the situation. She did exactly that. I was impressed with her self-control and acumen in a difficult situation. The next day she responded to the e mail in a very powerful way and knew clearly how she wanted to proceed.

Centering is the focusing of your attention and also the alignment of mind, body and emotion to a specific purpose. When you are in your center, you are at your best. The process of regaining your center when you have lost it, often takes some time. The time you take is well worth it. Centering is good business strategy. When you operate from your center, your decisions, communication and performance have the best chance of succeeding and serving your interests.

photo: Serge Bertasius Photography,

Speaking Up

Speaking up is an art. Anyone can talk loudly and often. The art of speaking up is about speaking in a way that makes a difference and accomplishes your intentions. Here are some ways you can develop your skill in the art of speaking up.

• Never speak while your emotions are out of control – when you do, it always ends up wrong

• Choose your words intentionally to maximize others’ understanding of what you are saying

• Let your words reflect your emotional intelligence regarding the people you are communicating to

• Think out the possible ramifications of speaking up before you do – weigh the risks and benefits

• When something is important to you, believe in yourself and in your reasons for speaking up

• Be clear regarding what you want to accomplish by speaking up

Speaking up is an essential component of leadership. Do it wisely and well.

photo: marin,

Has Anything Got You Numb?

Numb:  1. Deprived of the power to feel or move normally  2. Emotionally unresponsive; indifferent

Sometimes, experiencing disappointing results or having continually bad interactions can cause you to back away. At first, this is an understandable protective mechanism. However, remaining in a backed – off place can negatively affect your outlook and performance.

Say that you and our team have received repeated criticism from a senior manager. Your presentations in staff meetings are often disparaged without merit and your suggestions are dismissed. Something’s wrong when this happens. There could be many reasons: it could be the senior manager’s personality or style, what you are offering could have flaws, or the senior manager could think he or she is “helping” you and your team by being “tough”. If your initial response is to back away, don’t let too much time pass before you begin to address it. Observe carefully and strategize how to approach the senior manager or otherwise address the situation.

Or, say you have a team member reporting to you that you are clashing with. Undoubtedly, this is affecting the rest of your team and is slowing you all down. In addition, your performance has to be affected – both yours and the team’s. Once you create some distance from the situation, devise a strategy to deal effectively with the team member. Be open to dialogue with them, changing what you can and being clear with them that the situation has to improve.

When you avoid or fail to deal with a situation, you gradually become numb. You fail to see the impacts the situation is creating and you allow them to fester and grow. It may become an “emperor has no clothes” situation, where everyone sees it but you. Inevitably, it will come around again in a much bigger way – such that you cannot ignore it any longer – possibly bringing with it consequences you would rather not have.

Do not become numb. Stay vital, in communication, alert and proactive. Numb will never do you any long-lasting good.

photo: Idea go,

How Your Communication Is Heard

When I was in college, a professor said to me “You are mature to the extent to which you realize how your actions affect others.” That advice has stayed with me. How you communicate falls into this. Effective communication has to be heard the way you want it to be by the person you are communicating with. It is not just how you say it, but how they hear it.

How a person hears you is influenced by a myriad of factors – how they feel at that moment, their perspective on your subject, their personality and temperament and how what you are saying could impact them. So what do you do? Conduct a labyrinthian analysis of the emotions and perspective of the person you plan to communicate with? I don’t think so.

It really is about your ability to observe and understand. If you develop your emotional intelligence and keenly observe the reactions of others to what you communicate, you will develop the ability to communicate effectively with them.

We are not a uniform human race. Our diversity is our strength. The challenge lies in realizing this, getting out of our own box and relating effectively to the perspectives and experiences of those to whom we communicate.

photo: jesadaphorn,