Research shows that people that hurt others with biting remarks and sarcasm don’t realize the pain they cause. In addition, mean people forget the sarcasms, cutting put-downs, and jabbing jokes they’ve said. However, others remember.
Don’t excuse cutting remarks by saying something ridiculous like, “I didn’t mean it.” It doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean it. Accept that you and your words matter.
You need the people around you to be open to your influence. You diminish yourself and your leadership when others construct protective walls to shield themselves from your stinging tongue. You lessen your potential for positive impact.
Stopping isn’t enough
Often, stopping a negative behavior is enough to enhance success. Orson Card correctly commented, “Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.” However, someone incorrectly said, “The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.” It’s true, holding back cutting words is useful but an unsaid unkindness is never enough. After being hurt by you, silence is viewed in a negative light.
The kindest word is the spoken word that lifts, encourages, and enables. Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.”
The harsh words that, “don’t matter,” do. The higher you go the more casual comments matter.
You could be nasty and not know it. Determine to build up, enable, and give life rather than tear down. The good news is the same tongue that hurts can also heal.
What are some of the kindest things leaders can say?
What are some of the subtly harsh and hurtful things you’ve heard leaders say?
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