At work, and on my FB author page, I love to share quotes. I like to find snippets of wisdom from all corners of the world and spread them around in the hopes that on that day, it is meaningful to others in the same way that it touched me. The quote I chose at work today is:
“Before you speak … T.H.I.N.K.
T ~ is it True?
H ~ is it Helpful?
I ~ is it Inspiring?
N ~ is it Necessary?
K ~ is it Kind?”
I learned a long time ago that just because you want to offer feedback or say something doesn’t make it the right thing, even in the workplace (or is that especially in the workplace?). Even if you’re the boss. If feedback isn’t timely or actionable it’s probably more destructive than it is anything else.
Sometimes we have to say the difficult things because we want to be in service of another person – truly giving them some information that may be a blind spot or may be unknown to them that they need to know to be successful. But many times, we say what’s on our mind without editing it for value. Here’s a few I’ve heard recently that, frankly, left the receiver more self-conscious and bewildered about what to do about it (especially when they were followed up with a laugh or “just kidding” – everyone knows they weren’t kidding.) It was equally uncomfortable to watch:
> “Wow, your accent makes me laugh because I can’t understand you.”
> “When you’re nervous you have a strange tick you do with your fingers and it’s annoying.”
> “Gosh, did you notice everyone snicker when you shared that one piece of data in the meeting today?”
Those are just a few. In the moment, the awkwardness hung in the air like a noxious gas. And of course, the person speaking followed up with a lame statement to cover up the error. And the receiver graciously said, “ok, thanks.” But the damage was done.
I’ve done it. I’m familiar with that embarrassing moment when I realize I just spoke without T.H.I.N.K.ing. And I’m sure, if I examine my life a little closer, I probably need more editing. I’m sure that’s why I noticed the quote today. In case it speaks to you as well … T.H.I.N.K. with me. And be blessed!