Learn to Respond, Not React


Health & Safety
Learn to Respond, Not React

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Whether in an emergency situation or just daily interactions with others, learning how to respond, rather than react, can make a huge difference in the outcome of situations.

What is the Difference between Reaction and Response:

  • Reaction is an emotional, subconscious decision that is made without consideration for the consequences usually in haste.  Commonly referred to as a "Knee-jerk Reaction"...
  • Response is the conscious effort to take a step back, (breathe), review the situation, (become aware and present), attempt to figure out the probable cause, and consider the available solutions.  


Understanding the Difference in Reactions versus Responses is key in Learning how to change old habits and form new habits of Responding thoughtfully to situations and avoiding hasty Reactions that can result in negative outcomes. 


Top 7 Ways to Practice Thoughtful Response and Avoid Hasty Reactions: 

1. Train and Plan

Training and Drills prepare emergency responders to be able to be prepared to Respond with a Plan.  Examples are Evacuation Drills, Fire Extinguisher Training, First Aid/CPR/AED Certification Training and Emergency Response Training. 

These are examples of training experts to React without having to pause.  Time is limited and of the essence during emergencies.  This training teaches responders to respond, not react.

By practicing the habit of responding, teams have the ability to act quicker and with a plan so no time is wasted.  

2. Get Perspective

When you think about your overall objectives and goals and how this specific situation fits into it, it will be much easier to decide on the best response.  Seeing things for what they are, and not getting lost in the minutia of the situation, will help to ensure you make the best choices instead of making a "knee-jerk reaction".

3. Mindfulness - Considering the 360° View

Take into consideration what is actually happening around you and how the situation effects you, your co-workers, other people, property and your company, if a business environment.  Mindfulness and awareness are key to choosing the most appropriate response.

4. Manage Emotions Balanced with Factstradebe-safety-blog-pause

Our best decisions are made when our emotions are not completely ruling the process.  Emotions and instincts are vital - think about the "Fight or Flight Response" that we all naturally have.  However, emotions must be in check and combined with facts in order to make the best decisions.



The best responses include a bit of emotion, all the relevant facts, a good degree of perspective and perhaps most importantly, a deep breath! 

5. Pause and Breathe

A simple thing that can make all the difference in responding appropriately is to take a moment or two to Pause and Breathe. Ensure you are not beginning to React without thoughtful assessment of the situation.

6. Consider the Consequences of your Choices

Reactions are often made hastily when you feel that you don’t have a choice but to react immediately.  Taking a moment to pause, considering your options and the potential consequences of your choices will ensure you make the best decisions possible.  


7. Develop Hindsight

With time and experience, you can develop your Hindsight that is most useful in making decisions and responding appropriately to various situations in business and life.  Try to visualize the results of your possible responses before you act. "Play the video" of the situation and your response options in your mind to help evaluate the most likely outcome and whether your planned Response is your best option.


Sharing is Caring!

Model the behavior of Responding instead of Reacting, not only for your own personal development, but to also encourage and inspire others to do the same.  Share stories with others of how you have been successful at changing your Response behavior. Sharing what you have learned gives others the opportunity to also improve their patterns of behavior. 

What a happier, safer world we would live in with more Thoughtful Responses in place of Hasty Reactions!




“Be Safe - Work Safe. Safety is No Accident!”

Erika Reichard

Training Manager, Tradebe USA



Need help with your Safety and Compliance Training Programs? Contact us now and let us put our expertise to work for you! 


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