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.
Oh, Krista, what a wonderful topic you bring up and one that deserves so much attention!
I grew up in a home where there was always conflict and negative vibes, so as a young adult I avoided conflict at all costs. I’d just hold it all in which ended up tearing me up on the insides. I have since learned, through my wonderful marriage and great friendships, that it is okay to discuss issues and long as it is done correctly.
I always TRY to pray before I approach someone who has done or said something to hurt my feelings and usually it turns out alright. Occasionally I’ll still fly off the handle (usually at my husband) and it’s never pretty, but still better than internalizing.
The real problem is that people DESTROY other people by things they say and they way they criticize. In my class at school I work very dilligently to teach my third graders to build, build, build people up. I have them write letters to each other telling that person what they love about that person. It’s so fun to watch them sit/stand just a little taller when they’re bragged on just a little.
Be ye nice – you should make it a bumper sticker! 🙂
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