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Break a bone!

Updated: Dec 2, 2023



Thousands of years ago, Solomon, who was purported to be the wisest man alive, instructed others that "by patience and a calm spirit a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft and gentle tongue breaks a bone (of resistance)". As I've been training with teams over the past years, it has become obvious that the desire of most employees is to be treated in a personable way, with dignity, kindness, and patience. As I wrote a few months ago, a survey done by McKinsey and company showed that most people who leave their job without another lined up do so because of uncaring bosses. The way you care is assessed by the way you communicate! You can't speak harshly and be perceived as caring! There are basically 3 tiers in an organization. There are those at the top, those at the bottom, and those somewhere in between the two! What it doesn't take long to realize is that everyone wants to be treated with respect. No one likes getting run over by someone else or their feverish desire to accomplish some goal, at their expense. Whether it is in relating to someone above you (positionally), someone alongside you, or someone below you (again positionally speaking), everyone wants to be addressed with patience, a calm spirit, and a soft and gentle tongue, just as Solomon observed many years ago. So, it pays to remember that the person in front of me is just as important, if not more so, than my goal. In fact, I can't get the other person in line with my goal, if I don't first win the person relationally first. No one wants to be on a team that doesn't care about them as a person. As my friend Bob Beaudine, the CEO of Eastman-Beaudine recruiting agency, says so well, "People want to work where they are appreciated, not tolerated"! So the next time you are communicating with someone, whether a boss or a direct report, remember that your first job is to connect with them as a person. To understand them, to appreciate them, to see things from their point of view, and then to be patient as you kindly address your concerns, showing them why it will be advantageous to move in the direction of your vision. Remember, you can break a bone of resistance by using the approach of a soft word. Once, I had a boss who was very angry with me. Instead of getting angry in response, I spoke calmly and deescalated the situation. He calmed down at once and we were able to refocus on the task at hand. This works, if you work it! Everyone wants to see how calm and caring you are toward them. You can show you care by how you speak!

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