Mom Always Said
by Adam Zack — June 13, 2018
Apparently my mom wasn’t the only one who told her kids “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” If my brothers and I had listened, there probably would have been very long periods of silence. Very long.
Bob LaBonne, President of LaBonne’s Markets in Connecticut, pointed out that his mom used to tell him the same thing, and that sarcasm is most often related to humor, but when it’s not humorous to both parties, it’s just not that funny anymore. He commented that his mom also told them: “It doesn’t matter what I said or what I meant, it’s what they heard and how they felt”. And there is no time in history when that saying is more true than today. It seems like every day we have to deal with someone who was offended by some comment or action that just a couple years ago would have been considered totally benign. In fact, the offended party would have been scorned, ostracized or even mocked for just being thin skinned. It’s a new day, but it’s a better day. I don’t think that we are more sensitive than ever or the sarcasm is harsher, we are just more aware. And that’s a good thing, because to be aware we are listening and observing better. Having said all that, there are times when, as business managers that we have to say things that aren’t nice. Criticism and direction are necessary to move the business forward. Not every ad design, product display or work review is going to be all happy-happy-joy-joy everything is awesome!! There are plenty of times when we don’t have anything nice to say, but we can’t say nothing at all. (Sorry, mom). So how do you do that? The best managers nail it because what the other person hears what the manager is saying, respects the feedback and is appreciative for the opportunity to learn and do better the next time.
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