Are You Reacting or Responding? The Mission-Critical Skill Every Leader Must Master

When things go wrong in our organizations, the common immediate reaction is panic… and when we are in a state of panic, we stop thinking clearly, and then we react. 

Unfortunately, this sequence of events doesn’t make for a good outcome. Because, when we react, we aren’t in a place to make the best decisions. We’re more likely to act in fight or flight mode. If we respond, we are able to self-author the situation and create better solutions. 

In this episode, I share how we can get ourselves out of reaction-mode and into a responsive-mode.


When you are responding, you are acting with purpose and control, you are self-authoring the situation vs. allowing the situation to author you.  - Jen Thornton 


Three Things To Take Away From This Episode

Signs of reactive leadership
If the priorities in an organization are constantly changing, you’re a reactive leader. If it feels like the team goes wherever the wind blows, you’re definitely not in response-mode. Reactive leadership creates chaos, which kills innovation and that’s the last thing we need.

Not so fast…
When you find yourself in a difficult situation, it’s human to want response to it immediately. This makes the fear and discomfort go away. Making the problem go away quickly doesn’t lead to long-term solutions. Slow down, take a breath and allow cooler heads to prevail. Don’t make decisions for instant results, think about the long-term business impact.

Taking control of the situation
The difference between reacting and responding is the difference between being driven by the situation and driving it. When you act from a place of methodical response, you have purpose and control, and you get to self-author the situation.

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