Leaders & Teams, These Knee Jerk Reactions Boomerang on You | #PeopleSkills

We can all slip into knee jerk reactions in difficult moments. We find out quickly that these instant reactions don’t protect us or make us look good. In fact, these knee jerk reactions make things worse. Avoid the following knee jerk reactions that boomerang and cause deeper trouble.

Knee Jerk Reactions: Image is light bouncing back.

Knee Jerk Reactions That Will Boomerang on You. Image by IsoTab via Flickr.

Image by IsoTab

Knee Jerk Reactions That Boomerang on You

  1. Defensiveness. Of all the knee jerk reactions, this is the common one that makes you look childish, insecure, and unaccountable. None of these images will help you in your career or business.

  2. Verbal punches. Being combative and punching back drives people away. This is a dead end for your career and business. Ask questions and listen to learn. Positive dialogue takes you to great places. If someone is being verbally abusive to you, don’t punch back. Instead, state clearly that you expect basic human respect.

  3. Extremism. Picture someone criticizing your behavior. Perhaps they say, you’re too aggressive. If you swing 180 degrees and go completely silent, they will think you can’t take feedback. Extremism is a turnoff. Ask for examples and grow from the feedback.

  4. Avoidance. It’s OK to take a moment and step away to gain your composure. However, disappearing and avoiding trouble altogether paints you as immature. Learn to face your fears and your career will soar.

  5. Blaming others. Just picture you blaming others as an immediate response to trouble. It is horrible behavior and it will definitely boomerang on you. It is also very tough to undo.

  6. Labels. Labels are generalities and they are rarely true. In tough moments, communicate with specifics. Labels cause trouble.

  7. Revenge. Especially if you have power (e.g. as a leader), seeking revenge on others is the death knell to your success. It taints the culture with toxic fear that lasts for a very long time.

The Better Approach

The seven knee jerk reactions noted above have one common horrible effect — they destroy trust. Whether you are a leader or a team member, it’s critical that others can trust that you will be mature, civil, respectful, and open to dialogue. In tough moments take a breath and tell your ego, “You’re safe.” Then picture yourself ready to learn and grow. Listen, ask questions, ask for examples, and show everyone your emotional intelligence.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
What Happens When Leaders Mislabel Communicators as Nervous
23 Common People Skills Mistakes That Drive People Away
Does Negative Feedback Drive You to These Reactions
21 Reasons Employees Can’t Just Get Along

©2019 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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4 Responses to “Leaders & Teams, These Knee Jerk Reactions Boomerang on You | #PeopleSkills”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    There’s real power in what you suggest here. People may think it sounds funny or they’d feel strange doing it, but telling their ego “you’re safe” can make a measurable difference. It’s also a great way to move away from the reactive behaviors here and step into who they want to be.

    Will share!


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Honored by your echo on this one Alli. Although it may well sound funny to say “You’re safe”, it really does make a difference.

      Thank you!

  2. Terri Klass says:

    Wonderful points Kate! What I have found is that when leaders don’t take control of their reactions and lose their cool, it is very difficult to regroup quickly. So empowering ourselves to not overreact but rather state our needs in a calm way is most impactful. Terri

    • Kate Nasser says:

      You are so right Terri … it is very difficult to regroup and even more difficult to take back the negative impact. Thanks for adding your insight here!

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