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Excellius Leadership Development

The Responsiveness Volume Fallacy

Not all who are unresponsive can blame the overwhelming amount of incoming emails and phone calls as the cause of their behavior. Many of us tend to assume that other people’s low responsiveness is due to workload when, in reality, they may not possess a natural predilection to getting back to others in a timely fashion, if at all. Consider the various places you could find yourself when you attempt to balance a desire to be responsive with your actual responsiveness.

Low desire to be responsive + low responsiveness. You are not very responsive, as you have little to no interest in responding to others. You are at risk of being seen as an obstructionist to progress, and your colleagues are going to simply exclude you and work around you. Your relevance in your organization is in jeopardy.

Low desire to be responsive + high responsiveness. You are likely in a role where external factors (versus your own desire) require you to be responsive. These types of roles may include, for example, a call center representative or a customer service specialist. You may find yourself in performance jeopardy as this role does not suit you well.

High desire to be responsive + low responsiveness. You represent the vast majority of busy business professionals. You really want to get back to your colleagues in a timely fashion, yet your workday is over before you have a chance to do so. The frustration your colleagues are experiencing is exceeded only by your own frustration.

High desire to be responsive + high responsiveness. You are making a difference in your organization through your support of your colleagues. You successfully satisfy your innate desire to be responsive by getting back to others in a timely basis, thus reducing stress and enabling progress.

Ed Evarts is the founder and president of Excellius Leadership Development, an organization focused on coaching mid- to senior- level leaders and their teams in business environments. With over twenty-five years of innovative leadership and management experience, Ed possesses the ability to build awareness, create action, and deliver results. Known for his business acumen, his ability to resolve complex human relations issues, and his enthusiastic, accessible and responsive style, Ed partners with managers, leaders and business teams to explore clarity and communication, and traverse conflict and change.