Imagine you’re in a crowded restaurant with your family when a cockroach climbs on the table. Everyone at the table screams, but then a waiter calmly walks over and tosses the insect out. While your table reacted, the waiter responded—and that distinction made all the difference.
When we only react to situations—that is, when we leap before we look—chaos usually follows. And where there’s chaos, there’s misbehavior. We blow up, we exaggerate the issue, and we fail to assume good intent from others.
High-performing leaders, on the other hand, respond. They are calm in the face of challenges. They do their best to consider all parties involved.
Then, they choose the best course of action available to them.
When they don’t (because they’re human and make mistakes) they own up to it. As you work on responding instead of reacting, I encourage you to dig deep into your reactions. Think about how you’ve reacted in the past. And how you’d want to respond to the same scenario in the future.
Make a habit of examining your behavior critically. You’ll get ahead of your reactions and empower yourself to respond thoughtfully instead.