Have you ever wondered why someone went off the handle at something you said?  Have you ever had a strong reaction yourself to an event and you wondered why it bothered you so much?

When things go wrong that is when the true character, grace and presence of a person shines through.

So what does it mean when you or the other person reacts very strongly to what happened?

To understand that, we need to step back and look at how the brain reacts to situations.  It will always try to defend you.  Therefore any time it feels attacked OR ashamed, it will try to protect you.

So if you feel attacked your brain will try to defend why you did what you did.  However, equally important to realize is that if your brain is ASHAMED of what you did, it will try to attack the other person in order to justify why you did what you did.   Think of it in terms of the brain saying “the best defense is an attacking offense.”  When you don’t reign it in is when you end up with horrible accusations being flung around with little or no factual substance.

This one fact is a huge difference between those with Executive Presence and those without it.  I find that leaders with strong Executive Presence, always go back to what they said and did to learn if there was anything they could have improved on.  They stay in a state of curiosity and try not to attack others but rather to get to the TRUTH-even if that TRUTH is not pretty and it about them.

So when you get a strong reaction to something, ask yourself, have I done anything I may be ashamed of and now I am trying to protect against it? If you have, admit it, fix it and move on from it.  You will be a better person for it.

If you believe the other party is reacting strongly because they may have done something they are ashamed of, create a safe space for them to admit what they did wrong, adjust, learn from it and move forward.  You will both become stronger for it.

Learn more about strategic communication at www.impressionmanagement.com.