Coach’s Challenge for July 18, 2005
Good day, team,
Recently, I asked a few of my clients what is one important factor they try to keep in mind in their everyday interactions with others. Many responded with the same advice: try to speak consciously and with integrity.
In countless employee surveys each year, “communication” continues to be the issue that everyone says is most important: Either there’s not enough of it, or what exists is incorrect or misleading, even going so far as to become destructive gossip. Companies spend millions of dollars a year trying to improve their own or their employees’ communication skills.
We are individually responsible for the way we communicate. If I tell a colleague that I appreciate the work he’s done, but I roll my eyes disdainfully, he’ll obviously get a mixed message. And the message he’ll believe is the one communicated in my facial expression, gestures or tone of voice. Our body language speaks volumes; we often forget that communicating involves not just our spoken words but also our unspoken actions.
Our minds are like fertile ground in which seeds are planted. When we speak the truth and encourage that in others, that fertile ground sprouts healthy plants that grow and flourish. We often don’t realize how much our words affect others until we find that some negative comment we’ve made in the past has blossomed into an ugly rumor that people now believe to be true. Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.”
I’ve been trying to speak with integrity for many years now. It is a challenge for me each day. Sometimes things come out of my mouth that I’m unconscious of. When they are repeated back to me, I’m surprised to learn I said them. Other times, an emotion is so strong that I feel compelled to say something in spite of my better judgment. In these cases, what I say is not very productive, and I find myself regretting the way in which I expressed myself. My intent to communicate consciously and with integrity is there, but that intent is sometimes not strong enough to catch my words. If I can be present in the moment about my feelings, I have a better opportunity to temper the words before they are expressed.
Try to speak consciously and with integrity this week. I’m going to take my cue from a bumper sticker I saw that read, “Try not to do anything unless it’s necessary, responsible and kind.” If you replace the word “do” with the word “say,” you’ll end up with impeccable conduct and impeccable speech.
Have a great week!