Are you anticipating versus being reactive?

I’ll never forget the time when I was witnessing a medical scenario and I watched the medical team respond to a situation which they appeared to be anticipating what their next steps would need to be. This was clearly achieved from having years of experience with either the same variables, or very similar ones. Watching them perform with ease and complete coordination was impressive, and the scenario was literally a life-or-death situation, and yes, they saved the person’s life.

Most people are not in life of death situations, and I would always express and remind people of this when they began to exhibit signs of going into either a panic, or reactive mode. When someone is going into being reactive in a situation, there is an opportunity to respond differently. However, it will take having an awareness of a few different factors. One of the factors is time. If you can slow down your immediate reaction and pause to think about what your options are, this will help to set you up to have more than one reaction choice. The more you do this, will also train you to think more strategically, and ideally, to respond in a way which results in a better outcome.

The second factor is confidence. When we are not confident about our decisions or the experience we can apply, we tend to under value and perhaps dismiss what our gut instinct response should be. A response that is both based on a survival instinct, and depending on the scenario, a sprinkle of including previous experience which resulted in a favorable conclusion.  

Certainly, when we are early in our careers or working our way up to the highest level of being on a sports team, there is typically a pattern or track we would be expected to follow to proceed forward. Some people are gifted with talent or knowledge they have attained earlier than others, and which will serve to fast track them. However, even with their advantages, they will still encounter occurrences when they will be faced with whether they can anticipate versus being reactive. Perhaps not as often as others with less experience or talent, but they will occasionally be in this scenario, and this is perfectly acceptable.

Depending on your outlook and approach to handling situations, you may be the type of person that looks at things not going well purely as a hassle. Not as an opportunity to consider how you can learn from it. Or, potentially have it result in a better outcome had the situation not initially been going in a less ideal way. I believe outlook and attitude are closely linked, and if you tend to be the type of person that is less inclined to anticipate a positive outcome, in my experience, the outcome isn’t as desirable. Of course, you might be surprised when it is, but this isn’t the norm.

If you find yourself leading others who are more often in a reactive versus anticipatory state, below are some examples of how you can help them to start working towards handling situations much more fluidly, with ease and better outcomes. Both for themselves, and the others who will be positively impacted from this new way of responding to matters they need to handle.

  • This won’t apply to every situation but doing a post-mortem on a situation that didn’t have a positive outcome or could have been handled better is always a great method which incorporates both a teaching and non-accusatory management approach.
  • Not every scenario can be practiced, but there are plenty which can be. Make sure you are putting in enough time to practicing and determining a variety of options of how you could better anticipate versus being reactive in that scenario.
  • You hear people in highly charged situations asking people to remain calm. Although not all situations are highly charged, you can borrow from this method and be intentionally focused on first calming yourself down, and then allowing yourself and your mind to have greater clarity on deciding and being more anticipatory about the next steps.
  • Yes, there may be an ideal way of responding or anticipating a better outcome, but if you can also factor in applying common sense, the result will be more desirable.
  • Doing this isn’t easy but do your best to quickly assess and think about what you want the result of the situation you are reacting to will be.
  • How you react, and whether you are an anticipatory or a reactive person is something others notice. If this matters to you, by choosing which category you are in is the first step towards switching categories. Hint: Most leaders fall into the anticipatory category.

Eventually with experience people if they are intentional about wanting to be in the category of being more anticipatory versus a reactive person will get there, but this will take time and experience for you to get there. If you are intentional about having this be your focus, I am confident you will achieve this attainment.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Communication #Management #Leader #Sports #Sportscoach #Teams #Confidence #Businesstips

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