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Reacting is not responding

Getting caught off guard by a question or a situation can lead you to react in a way that may be less like a leader and more like a boss. In these situations it is important to respond rather than react. Knowing the difference between reacting and responding are vital to leadership.

Reacting leads to many unwanted situations, it can even breakdown your ability to communicate to those around you. Reacting is an emotional response to whatever the circumstance may be. Meaning, you have not allowed time for your mind to process the event, questions, or statements that were made. In turn you have reacted to how the situation has made you feel versus taking time to process the information. There are many downfalls when you don't allow yourself time to process.

Overreacting to a situation will break down communications, lead to discontent, and can brury relationships. You are especially vulnerable to this type of reaction during heightened times of stress and frustration. It is during times like these it is important to give yourself time to process in order to respond instead of react.

Underreacting can happen more easily than overreacting. Being in the position to lead can give you a false sense of self-confidence. Not to say you shouldn't be confident in your abilities, but not so much so that you disregard what you may feel as a minor situation. Brushing off minor situations will lead to bigger issues down the road. It may also give those around you the feeling that what they have to say is not important to you.

Both of these situations have long lasting effects on your ability to lead. Being emotionally intelligent, logical, and giving yourself time to process is what great leaders do and is the foundation of communication. You can't build someone up if you don't take the time to understand what they are saying.

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