thinking before you act

The art of thinking before you act: 15 tips to respond rather than react

There is an art to thinking before you act is a skill that not many currently have. Learning the ability to respond rather than react is a way of elevating your emotional IQ and will earn you the respect of your peers. The benefits of this type of thinking can be seen in many different aspects of life, from relationships to money.

Think before you act and reap the rewards! Here are 15 tips to help you on your way.

1. Gain perspective:

This is important because it will allow you to step back in order to see the bigger picture. When you hear something that may trigger a reaction, learn to understand that reaction and to think before you act.

This will allow you to get the perspective on the given situation to then stop think and figure out the best course of action.

In the example above, this would be “Is this a reaction or is this a reaction to a reaction?” This question will help you gain perspective and help you determine your best course of action.

2. Use empathy:

Empathy is the ability to imagine how someone else feels in a given situation. If you are able to understand their point of view, then this will give you more information and therefore allow you to make better decisions based on that perspective.

Empathy can be learned and is a behaviour that can be trained. Here are a few tips on how to get better at using empathy.

thinking before you act

Empathy skills at work – learn the rules of the game so you know how to change it.

Use of effective/necessary language – use words that are not demeaning as this will not help you in gaining empathy from others.

Avoiding judgement – avoid assuming others are wrong or bad as this will not allow you to gain their perspective.

To help you improve your empathy skills, here is an article that’ll show you how.

3. Make sure that your facts are right:

This point is an important one as it will help you minimize any potential misperceptions that others may have on the situation. If you verify the facts before you act, this will help you make sure that others don’t have a misconception about what is happening.

This is because misperceptions can increase the likelihood of conflict, which does decrease the likelihood of cooperation. Once again, cooperation is important in order to build and maintain effective working relationships.

4. Take the time to listen to others:

In order to gain the perspective of others, we must first listen and understand their needs and how they are feeling.

Once you have this understanding, you can then begin to try and build on that relationship so that you may understand where they are coming from when they give their feedback.

For example, saying “I’d love to hear more about your experiences.” This will help you understand their perspective in the present situation.

5. Consider their perspective:

When we make assumptions about others’ words or intentions, we are likely to make a snap judgement. Try and avoid these judgments and try to see things from someone else’s perspective. This will decrease conflict that may create unhelpful tense situations in the office.

You can also try and see things from the perspective of your boss, which will help you understand the issues that they may have been having in the past.

You can also try and understand how to help them out so that your boss is more open to cooperating with your ideas.

6. Consider the possible outcomes:

This is important because we can be blinded by our emotions in order to act impulsively. By considering what could happen, this can help us prevent impulsive or rash decisions.

In the situation above, if you consider the possible outcomes of your emotions, then you can instead think about how you are going to respond in a way that would promote a healthy working relationship. This will ensure that everyone walks away with a positive experience.

7. Know which emotions to use:

Emotions are important because they help us make decisions by giving us feedback on the situations we are in. However, we must know which emotions to use and when.

If you ignore the emotions of others or if you try to suppress them, they can lead to tension, which will create conflict within the workplace.

For example, in the situation above, your boss might be angry that you challenged his ideas. Instead of ignoring this anger, instead, use it as constructive feedback and make sure that you have a response that is going to help him out or at least make him understand why you felt this way.

8. Your feelings are real:

When we think about how our emotions affect us and our decisions, we must realize that our reactions are real. In other words, it is important to realize that others will feel the same way as you do.

You can use this to your advantage by showing empathy and understanding their point of view. By doing this, others will be more likely to cooperate with you so that you can build a better working relationship.

9. This is not about you:

This is an important tip as we must realize that others’ reactions are not always going to be beneficial to us. When we understand this concept, it will help us recognize that there are other issues at play.

Once we do this, then we can move forward and think about how our actions will affect others so that we can put their needs first and therefore create a healthy working relationship.

10. Learn from the past:

Everyone has had a negative experience with another person in the workplace. When this happens, we must learn from it and take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.

Think about how you will make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again. This can help you create and maintain a healthy working relationship for both parties involved, which is a positive outcome for everyone involved.

11. Look for mistakes:

If you are just focusing on the negative, then this will create a tense atmosphere. When we take the time to see the mistakes that others are making, we can more accurately think about how we can improve on their performance.

By not doing this, you will only have a negative view of others and they may be looking for feedback on their performance. This will create a negative working relationship and as a result, it will cause you to perform less favorably.

12. Accept the feelings of others:

Remember how I mentioned earlier that emotions are real? Well, once again, these emotions are real for your boss as well. If you judge him for having these feelings, then you will not be able to understand what they are feeling and how to best help them out.

Instead of judging them for their feelings, try and accept them so that you can move forward. This way, you will be able to work with them in a more positive way so that you can build a healthy working relationship.

13. Respond with a question to give you time

Responding with a question is a great way to avoid saying something that you might regret later on down the line. This way, you can get your point across while being able to take the time to think about your response.

For example, instead of saying “I will do no such thing.” You can say “What does that mean?” Or instead of saying “That’s not my job. “You can say “Why do you think I would even think about that?”

14. Recognize the difference between right and wrong

If we cannot tell the difference between right and wrong, then we are more likely to make a mistake. By recognizing this, we can become more aware of what our actions will have consequences for our workplace relationships.

This will help us make better decisions by ensuring that we are being productive with our time and stay away from situations that are toxic for the workplace.

By doing this, you will be able to recognize the issues that are causing tension.

15. Don’t try and change other people:

It’s also important to understand that you cannot force others to change. This is especially true when it comes to your boss. Instead of trying to change them, work with them so that you can find a solution that is going to benefit everyone involved.

This can help you build a better working relationship so that both of you can feel productive with your time.


Reacting rather than responding is going to create tension within the workplace, at home, or with your friends.

By learning how to respond rather than react, you will be able to create healthier relationships and working environments.

If you recognize that your response is going to cause toxic tension, then you can save yourself from making a mistake.

It is also important to realize that this doesn’t mean that you will be happy about what happens next. However, by learning to understand others, you can create a work environment where everyone feels productive with their time.

This can not only help you feel more productive but also make sure that there are no misunderstandings between yourself and your colleagues. This will create a benefit for everyone involved and therefore create a healthy working relationship.

I hope that you found these tips useful. If you did, please share it with others so that they can benefit from this article as well.

If you have any additional tips on how to build a healthy working relationship, then please make sure to let me know in the comments section below. I would love to hear your feedback and see what insights you have to offer.

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