Welcome to The SHAPE of a Leader. I write this blog with the SHAPE leadership development program (for women pastors) I lead in mind, but it is for all who are interested in leadership, faith, and the intersection of the two.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unintended messages

When I was growing up, I noticed that my parents consistently were praising my siblings, and not me.  What I didn't notice is that they were only praising them when they weren't in the room.  When I was 18 or so, a family friend said to me, "You don't know this, but every time you're not in the room, your Dad is bragging about you."  News to me! As I reflect on that, I figure my dad didn't want any of us to "get a big head" so he was careful to only praise when we weren't within earshot.

A colleague was describing to me his fight with his son who hadn't done as well this period in school as he could have.  In the end, as he asks his son for explanation, his son said, "Dad I don't know what you're so upset about. You told me I needed to have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and that's what I did."

Messages, verbal or non-verbal (!), lose something in the translation. From my mouth to the others' ear, what message did they hear, vs. what I had intended?  If the message is important, it stands to reason that it's also important to carefully craft it, and then perhaps check that it was received as intended.

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