LEARN TO RESPOND, NOT TO REACT

 

There’s a fine line between a mindful and mindless response. Most of the time our body and mind react to things first before actually thinking what’s the proper way to respond. 

Like when someone said something that we don’t normally like, we would react right away, instead of thinking and taking our time enough to develop a mindful response. 

Our automatic responses cause unnecessary conflicts for us on a daily basis. In this article, we will give you tips on how to convey a good response and the difference between reacting and responding.


 

ON WHY TENSION AND CONFLICTS ARE NECESSARY ATTRIBUTES OF A THRIVING TEAM

 

When working with people with diverse backgrounds and different points of view, conflicts and tensions arise constantly. Team conflicts aren’t a bad thing, in fact, this only tells you that you have people in your team that care about their craft.

As a result, acknowledging the conflict as a necessary part of a healthy team dynamic allows you not to avoid it but to embrace it. Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high-functioning teams.

By default you need to encourage conflicts, however, you need to manage the tension and make sure there are safety valves in place to resolve team tension and realign the team.

 

HOW CAN YOU FACILITATE SUCH A PROCESS?

At Bonanza Design, at the end of each project, we have reflection sessions where the team sits together and shares their thoughts and feedback on how it all went. 

Once everyone is done expressing their thoughts, now it’s time that as a team we create a list of “what we learn,” and “what we’ll do differently in the next project.” 

If there was a strong tension between team members, make sure they set up 1-1 and resolve their tensions between each other. 

We can’t always agree on everything, and everyone has their best interest to contribute so it’s always best to compromise on each other. This brings harmony and unity to the team that despite their conflict ideas all can meet in between.


 

REACT VS RESPOND

 

react vs respond

 

In common dictionaries, there’s a fine line of definition between these two words but in action, they are entirely different. Let’s take a look at how reacting is far different in responding in situations that need cautious results.

 

REACT

Reacting is our first course of action to protect ourselves from any threats or any odd situation. This sometimes is caused by habitual behavior or something that you are used to doing to relate to a certain situation. This is also unconscious action, especially to unexpected events.

When you react you automatically shut down your normal body action, then your brain tells you to jump in right away to do something. For example, you are holding a book, then you see a glass that’s about to fall immediately you drop the book to save the glass from breaking. That usually happens within a split second and unconsciously you are thinking of the glass without realizing about the book. You risk one to save one.

 

 

RESPOND

Responding is taking time to give your answer to the situation. It means you have already thought about what your actions will be. When you respond consciously, you analyze your default, reactive actions and consider the context and devise a mindful response considering your choices.

To be able to respond, you need to be present and monitor the situation as it unfolds. You need to be a great listener and empathetic towards what others feel.


 

WHAT DO WE THEN?

As much as we hate to admit it, we have done things that sometimes we did not intend to do. We often feel ashamed when we react blindly then later realize we are wrong. 

We’ve all been there, it might be our first-word reaction, things we didn’t mean to say, or actions that shouldn’t have happened. But rather than letting it eat us up, let’s focus on how we can change it and we can act more mindfully.

Here are a few suggestions to help you improve your response:

 

 

TIP 1: BREATH DEEP FROM NOSE

Let your first reaction especially to odd situations is to breathe deeply from the nose. When you breathe first, you don’t have time for any other reactions yet and that’s a good start. 

Aside from that this helps you calm and compose yourself. This gives you a space to think next before doing anything. So breath in and breath out for at least 10 seconds to give yourself a pause. 

Buy yourself time to respond. That’s purely driven by loving yourself.


 

TIP 2 PAUSE. THINK. ASK QUESTIONS

Now that you are in a much-relaxed mode, it’s time to evaluate things. Remember this, no one gives a medal for being first to answer, so calm your horses down, your answer doesn’t need to be right away. 

Allow yourself to think and ask questions to better understand things. This also reflects not just on your maturity but also your professionalism in how you handle things. 

In all things, your reactions and the way you handle your responses tell everyone what type of person you are. So pause, allow yourself to think, and take your time before responding.


 

TIP 3 HAVE EMPATHY FOR YOUR COLLEAGUES

Always treat everyone with kindness and empathy. Just because someone had a bad reaction to you doesn’t mean you will respond negatively too.  

Be patient, after all, you are a team. Instead, try to communicate, ask them if they are having a hard time and if necessary offer help or simply be a listening ear. Don’t take things too personally, be professional, and stay objective. Don’t ruin a good work relationship with a negative reaction but instead see things in a positive way.


 

TIP 4 FORGIVE YOURSELF WHEN YOU REACT NEGATIVELY

This will surely happen again. Our body reacts unconsciously and it takes a lot of conscious effort to get in our brain. As they say we have to break the habit and this is very challenging. 

Let’s be realistic, you can’t master the art of responding overnight. This will take practice and mindful effort to make it happen. So if it happens again forgive yourself and your reaction causes some trouble for your colleague or work, fix it and bet that it won’t happen again.

Continue on being mindful with your responses and I assure you this brings harmony to your relationship with everyone.


 

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