With the holidays over and people returning to the "grind" of everyday life, the kindness of our words seems to have slipped. Remember, the way we word things has an impact on how the words are received. I would like to think that everyone approaches the world as I do with empathy and understanding that words matter, but they don't. I even re-posted an anonymous quote on my Facebook page recently stating, "I am responsible for the words I say, not how you hear them." That isn't necessarily true. Sure, the words we speak are filtered through other's lenses but there are still some responsibilities we all have with how we word things.
For example, I received an email, recently, from a stranger and it started with, "This is your first and final warning..." People make mistakes. A simple misunderstanding of the purpose of a web site group should not garner such abrupt and curt responses. A less offensive approach would have been, "Perhaps you did not get a chance to review the group standards, attached are the expectations of the group. Your most recent post does not meet those standards, please keep these in mind the next time you post to the group."
Every mistake is a training opportunity. Perhaps we didn't communicate our intentions properly, or the person misinterpreted those intentions. One of the very best managers I ever had pulled me into her office after a reasonably sizable mistake on my part, and took full responsibility for it. She said to me, "I may not have explained the returns process effectively to you; so, let's walk through this together and see where we missed the mark." She asked me to show her how I did the returns then corrected the process with me. In her position, she could have very well "written me up" or even removed me from that position. Instead, she took my mistake as an opportunity to be better at my job. I have never forgotten that.
Those person's position in a leadership or ownership role should keep the basic rules of communication in mind:
Caryn Morgan, corporate trainer, obtained her Masters Degree in Adult Education and Training