SMOOTHING RUFFLED FEATHERSWritten by Rhoberta Shaler
In world of birds, ruffled feathers is one sign of a virus. Isn't that also case at work? Ruffled feathers can spread like a virus throughout your office, department or corporation. Depending on influence of 'ruffled one', that spread can be fatal.
Infected birds shed virus by exhaling and excreting. Isn't this what happens in workplace? Gossip and anger can quickly change workplace environment from healthy to malicious. And, it's very contagious.
When words are involved, a high level of refinement of virus is possible. Stories change subtly. Emphasis is given to different aspects by different people. Additions are appended. Motives are questioned. Assumptions are made. Often, initial act becomes entirely unrecognizable in a very short time.
What to do? Be H.I.P.!
Here are three tips for smoothing ruffled feathers as soon as you notice them. If you are 'ruffler', implement these immediately. If you are 'ruffled', these work for you as well.
OK, you may be thinking, 'It was honesty that got me into this position in first place!" True, you may have blurted out some unvarnished truth in a moment of frustration. That's often fastest way to ruffle a few feathers.
Now that you have calmed down some, it is time for a different kind of honesty. First, be honest with yourself. What was your intention when you opened your mouth? Did you intend to inflict pain? Did you intend to create tension and dissention? Did you really just want to smack other person and you did it with your words? Or, were you just a little clumsy in trying to rectify a frustrating situation?
Now, if you are completely honest, it is likely that you so wanted rid of your frustration that you were lacking a little finesse. Right? If that is case, you can now go to person you ruffled and truthfully say that hurt was not your intent. Be honest about your outburst and identify it as a less than effective way of releasing your pain. Ask if you can discuss issue and work out a solution that is acceptable to you both.
Oh, so, you really did want them to feel small, dumb and inferior? You're on your own...likely looking for a new position. Of course, if you're boss and you did this, you're also on your own...looking for new employees!
CHOOSE LIKE EINSTEINWritten by Rhoberta Shaler
Albert Einstein gave us a truthful, if playful, formula. He said, "If A = success, formula is A = X + Y with X being work, Y being play and Z, keeping your mouth shut.”
I cannot imagine there is anyone who, at some point, has not kicked themselves for saying something when that something would have been better left unsaid. For most of us with any degree of “awareness”, there is that internal voice, whispering, or screaming, “Don’t Do It!”, and yet, out it comes. We know better. We say it. We regret it. This apparently must have also happened to Einstein. Now, isn’t that reassuring?
There is another quote that goes something like this: It is easier to put a speeding bullet back into gun, than to recall words once they have been spoken. We’ve all experienced regret of word spoken in anger, revenge or unmindfulness. As most of us are in relationships with others who are much like us, it is highly unlikely that their response to our carelessly chosen words is one of sweetness and light-and struggle is on.
In counseling couples and giving relationship seminars, I call this “ten-for-the-price-of-one” approach. If we had carefully, thoughtfully and mindfully refrained from those one or two comments, one conversation we were having at that time would have stayed on track and, perhaps, been productive. By saying those fated words, we create opportunity to escalate that one conversation. The tone of conversation changes. The issue becomes broader, usually more personally offensive and more emotionally based. This leads us astray from intent of first conversation.