Do You Respond or React with Employees?
Managers typically focus on performance or behaviors that either enhance or hinder performance with each person on their team. How a manager goes about ensuring that employees meet their responsibilities make a difference between an employee responding or reacting to the manager.
An employee who reacts to a discussion with his or her manager is defensive and will not hear the message and will have an adverse reaction to the manager. Whenever anyone reacts, including the manager, it’s a quick reaction without much thought and creates negativity in the communication. There is no time to think about the best solution; rather the reaction is laden with emotions.
If either you or your employee reacts on a consistent basis, this could make the situation worse and increase performance issues. Reduced trust diminishes communication.
Reactions are normal responses to stressful situations, and most people need to learn how to reframe their behaviors to build strong mutual communication between others.
When a manager decides to observe his/her behavior and uses that awareness to step back and not react to their employees, this will increase trust with others. Reactions are based on experience or future concerns and not focused on the present situation. Mindfulness practice helps individuals become aware of their thoughts and allows thoughts to pass, which increases the manager’s ability to respond instead of reacting.
A manager who responds to the employees sets the tone for an employee to be in a responsive mode, thus allowing the manager and employee to have a fruitful discussion around the change in performance. This type of interaction leaves space for thinking, discussing, and reaching potentially productive solutions.
Responding allows both a manager and employee the ability to find solutions to the issue.
It’s important for a manager that you lead your staff in the skill of responding vs. reacting. If you tend to react, one way to learn to build your “responding muscles” is to try mindfulness practice and pause so you can pay close attention to your reaction as well as the employees’ reactions.
When you pause, take a breath, and use the space between stimulus and response wisely, so you relax and are more open to communicating respect for both you and your employee.
When you breathe deeply and become mindful of your reaction, you will see the reaction diminish, providing greater clarity for the right response to the situation.
Mindful management sets the tone for your team members, showing that you are available to listen and work with them to find decisions that create strong and respectful working partnerships.
Make a contract with your employees to commit to finding ways to reduce reactions and increase responses that respect everyone involved. This commitment is also good between manager/employee and between team members.