My friends and I enjoy discussing things we have little chance of changing. Sounds like such a waste, but not really. We always seem to learn something. The latest chat was about finger pointing, losing sight of the problem. In other words, attacking the person and not the problem.
And yes, the discussion was prompted by political advertising. However, politics is not for the Grasshopper, so we’ll not dwell on that scene.
We each had examples of how the words we use affect us. One woman recalled an error she made on her first job. Her report person said this would never have happened if YOU had paid more attention. Probably true, but the mistake was made. How much better, how much more productive, if the supervisor had said Let’s take another look and see what went wrong.
Another recalled a proposal she had written. Her manager read it and harshly remanded This is WRONG, can’t you ever get anything right? Would the results have improved had the supervisor said Does this look right to you? Allowing the writer to relook and relearn.
We had the attack by gossip example. We’re getting a new neighbor. Another neighbor says – “I was surprised to hear that she…” Anything starting with those words is rarely flattering. Gloria Vanderbilt might have said “if you have nothing good to say come sit by me,” but gossip usually makes us wary of the gossiper. It never solves anything.
Why do people do this to each other? Turf protection? You need to remember I’m smarter, better informed, and superior to you. Lack of confidence on the part of the attacker? I don’t know the solution either, but you’ll be talking the fall.
Whatever the reason, we five agreed that focusing on the problem, sharing the good or bad outcome, and avoiding personal attacks along the way is an ideal route to the best results.
If you see errors in this musing, just kindly ask - Did you mean to say this, Joan?
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