Using Mentoring to Address Your Responsive Nature

What is a Responsive Nature?

Have you ever found yourself after a conflict or confrontation wishing you would have said something important that was on your mind? Well that feeling, I believe, is your responsive nature, or your inclination to respond. Sometimes it stops you from sharing your feelings and thoughts about an issue at the time the issue is being discussed. The sad thing is that regret about non-responsiveness can stay with you for a while, with you wishing you would have expressed yourself more fully at the time of the discussion.
With so many conflicts and crucial conversations ahead of us in life, why do we pause, delay, and respond so slowly or not at all to things that should be said at the time those critical discussions occur?

How Mentoring Helps Your Desire to Respond

The definition of responsiveness is to react quickly and positively, or one’s ability to react appropriately or sympathetically. However, that delayed professional reaction is a behavioral tendency to not want to engage for the following reasons:

  • Not being prepared or are aware of all the facts
  • Need time to process all the information
  • Too emotionally tied to the situation
  • The topic is difficult to discuss at that moment

A responsive leader or individual recognizes the ever-fluctuating nature of business and can quickly react to new challenges and circumstances. A responsive leader also goes one step further, anticipating challenges before they arise and taking proactive measures to face them. While this is just part of the definition of a responsive leader, it does touch on one of the key points that a mentor can help you move beyond, which is anticipation and preparation of life’s challenges.
In the way that we prepare for meetings, conflicts and crucial conversations, it is important to always anticipate the challenges that you may encounter, and jot down a few strategies to leave the session with a position of control. Begin by asking yourself the following questions before you take on the tough challenges of meetings and potential conflicts:

  1. Can I clearly frame the facts that I am listening to?
  2. Where do I need to demonstrate growth?
  3. What new, helpful behaviors can I rely on?
  4. What is the actual impact vs. desired impact, I would like to achieve?
  5. What do you think I need to do in this difficult situation?

A Final Thought

When we encounter difficult experiences, it is easy to say I will deal with it later. That behavior is safe, and delays the reaction of being able to move beyond the condition. Delaying the emotional response of acknowledging this change or loss can also lead to us experiencing an unwillingness to accept, or a lack of understanding of what is really happening to us in that moment. It is a natural fear of the unknown and resistance to change without knowing what’s coming next.
However, if we do a better job of anticipating our reaction to these challenges, we will find that we have a sense of control over the impact not reacting has on our sense of accomplishment and leadership. Truth be told, we have nothing to fear in being responsive, except fear itself. I believe when Roosevelt made the statement, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” he hoped to discourage us from making things far worse than they seemed.
If you or your organization would like to find out more about adult professional mentoring, and how a mentoring program can help bridge the gaps experienced from missing employee engagement please reach out and connect with us at Coley & Associates, we are here to help move your organization forward, and we are passionate about what we do and committed to making a positive difference in our customers’ businesses and the world around us.

By Janet Williams

As Director of Human Capital and Performance Consulting for Coley & Associates, Dr. Janet E. Williams provides Government clients and commercial companies insight on how to leverage resources and maximize services for improvements to company operations. She specializes in mentoring, progressive management process improvements, accountability and control, revenue enhancements, and other organizational change methods. For almost 20 years, Dr. Williams worked in government and head an Emerging Leaders Program for mentoring youth. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton University a MBA from Troy State University, and her doctorate in Public Policy and Leadership from Walden University.

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