Thanks to Karen Pappageorge for her response to last Friday’s blog.  Her statement that “responding, not reacting, seems best for me” was spot on – and is the topic for today.  Let’s begin with the same scenario as we did when we considered our reactive strategies.

The situation is tense at work or at home.  You are overwhelmed with all that you have on your plate to do.  An important colleague or one of your family members comes to you with an urgent request that you had not anticipated.  How could you respond – this time from TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)?

As a Creator, focusing on the outcomes we are committed to is paramount.  At the same time, we respond to the other as a Creator in their own right, capable and resourceful in accomplishing the outcomes to which they are committed.  In speaking to outcomes, while being supportive, we might say: “I know your request is important.  However, I have commitments that I need to focus on right now that are important for me to complete.  I am willing to take 5-10 minutes to help you brainstorm how to get your needs met.”

A Challenger may see the situation that the other has brought to them as an opportunity for learning and growth.  Again, it would be important to see them as a Creator in their own right, responsible for the situation at hand.  “I cannot take the time right now to help you.  If you could have given me some advance warning, I would have been happy to help or to work it into my other commitments.  In the future, I would appreciate more lead time. I am willing to take 5-10 minutes now, though, to help you brainstorm how to get your needs met.”  Tone-of-voice is critical here and the goal is not to make them feel bad or make them “wrong,” but to offer a perspective that can lead to learning.

Rather than dropping everything and becoming a Rescuer, a Coach would offer to ask questions to help the other clarify what they want/need and how they might go about accomplishing the outcome.  We might start with the same statement as a Creator (“I know your request is important.  However, I have commitments that I need to focus on right now that are important for me to complete.”) and then move into the Coach role.  “What are some ways you can get your need met that do not involve me right now?  What other people or resources might be available?” may be questions that help create a solution.

Such situations arise all the time for us – they are part of the human experience.  When they happen, we can cultivate the capability to RESPOND, rather than react.  As a Creator, Challenger and/or Coach, we have a range of empowering and co-creative responsive strategies available to us.  All we need do is create them!