This topic has been on my mind lately. I am a peace maker at heart. As much as I LOVE to debate and champion a cause, I have an extreme dislike of people being with odds at each other. I firmly believe that we can discuss issues, and disagree, and still be friends at the end.
I also believe that our words should always be edifying. Are we building up, or tearing down?
I post about this today because I am feeling very ‘torn down’. Not by any one person, grant you, but a series of completely different events, many not even directed at me, but to other people.
We are all going to have different opinions, but I think there are ways to express those that are appropriate, and times when we just need to keep our opinions to ourselves.
I have to confess, I have a difficult time keeping my own opinion to myself. But when I express it, I try my hardest to do it in love and not be condescending.
Please don’t think this is me not taking critism. I actually LOVE constructive critism. We will never learn without it! In a management course I took once, they described what they called a ‘feedback sandwich’. I was leary of the idea, but today I am liking it more.
The theory is, if you have something negative to tell someone regarding their performance, or an area of improvement, “sandwich” it with two area’s of praise.
Boss: John, you did a great job on your speech yesterday! You didn’t sound nervous at all!
John: Thanks, boss! I really worked hard to memorize my notes.
Boss: Good! I did notice though that I didn’t have your monthly report on my desk this morning. I really do need that by the first of the month so I have time to proof it before I send it to the CEO. This isn’t the first time you’ve been late.
John: Oh, sorry about that. I guess I was spending so much time on those notes. I’ll have it to you right away, and make sure I do better next month.
Boss: Great! Thanks, John. Your report from last month by the way was perfect. I didn’t find any errors at all.
See, two positives, and one negative. In management of course, this changes a little with an employee who has serious issues that need to be addressed, but in our personal interactions with people, I think its a great idea.
Bottom line: Think before you speak, or type. Is your email going to make someone feel good, or make them feel like crap? We don’t always have to make them feel *good*, especially if you are talking about serious issues, but there’s still no reason to be mean.
When in doubt, don’t send. Or do like I do, write the email to vent, then delete. I ALWAYS feel better the next day knowing that I refrained and didn’t send.