This week’s Wednesday Wisdom comes from the Daily Coach Blog.

On Monday night, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler did something that’s standard practice in baseball. He walked out of the dugout to remove his relief pitcher from the game.

But instead of gingerly giving his manager, Kapler, the ball and nodding like most do, relief pitcher Zack Littell aggressively handed it to him, then turned back and mouthed several angry words.

Littell was pitching poorly and has pretty underwhelming stats overall this year. Questions of “Who the hell does he think he is?” and “Is this guy serious?” probably ran through Kapler’s mind in the moment.

But the manager didn’t say a word or retaliate. He instead waited until he got back to the dugout, then quickly took the conversation with Littell into a hallway so they could chat privately.

As leaders, we occasionally deal with team members who get irrationally upset. As Loan Officers, we regularly deal with clients who get irrationally upset. It may be because of something out of our control, or some other perceived slight or oversight on our part — but how Kapler navigated the situation with his player was a critical snapshot into the difference between reacting and responding.

Reacting consists of:

• Being overly emotional and borderline irrational because of a slight
• Immediately cursing at the person or seriously raising our voice
• Saying something hurtful that can’t be taken back
• Allowing our ego to balloon after we feel insulted

Responding means

• Pausing briefly before we say or do something rash
• Speaking coherently and not raising our voice
• Intelligently articulating the problem with the behavior
• Forming a logical resolution

In essence…it’s crucial to remember that the first 30 seconds are most important — and we can’t act on what may be our short-term impulses in the moment.

We must respond, not react.

Pause, breathe, construct some logical thoughts, then address the conflict.

It’s the most efficient way to extinguish what could otherwise be some fatal flames.