The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Time for Reflection and Development

Things have been building to a point during these last several months. The basis for the various situations and conditions were a curiosity. They were also not only annoying and inconvenient, they were also vexing. It was disturbing to have Life seem to be closing down and therefore one's existence being shuffled to the Exit.

The situations could no longer endure and a remedy needed to be sought. However, it still felt as though a barrier between me and current situations was being erected. It's important to put these types of premonitions in their place and also to not allow them to overwhelm with their unsubstantiated suggestions. The basis of a situation needs to be identified and understood before the issues can be properly addressed. So I arranged to be taken to the hospital and have things diagnosed. I anticipated a long wait. In order to deal with that, I took with me three of five books I purchased in September that were to form some of the content I would be presenting on domestic violence as it affects the workplace.

Although I was seen immediately, there were many intervals where nothing happened and time needed to be filled. One of the books I brought with me is Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected by Gregory K. Moffatt (Sep 30, 2000); I began reading it during my wait on December 13. The first chapter explores three different types of homicides, domestic, serial, and confrontational (meaning targeting a large, random group). It also analyses why these types of murderers are called a nice guy by friends and acquaintances as well as what pressures were impacting these types of people that ultimately led to their explosion of emotions.

While the reading was engaging and the theories being proposed were fascinating, I began to weary and Nurse was concerned with the fact that the wait would endure for quite a bit longer. She turned on a television for me. That was when the news about the shootings at Sandy Hook reached me.

In these ensuing times, there are fits, rantings, weeping, mourning. People reach out to others to comfort or be consoled. There are the outraged who demand better gun controls and compare the United States laws on gun control with other countries. They compare the two, essentially saying the other is better and we should adopt their policies. Caution here. One must examine the existing terrain before planting sugar cane lest it be planted in a swamp.

One of the issues that stands out in situations of murder to any degree is a very fundamental need for something very basic. It's so basic that we take it for granted and ignore caring for it in the proper way so that our global community can thrive. That need it communication. Not just talking. Not merely putting together a group of words that create sentences that build into paragraphs and ultimately to speech.

Additionally, communication has many dynamics. Not the least of the dynamics involved in good communication is listening to what is being said. Given the fact that different words have differing meanings to different people in different contexts, we have a responsibility to ask clarifying questions in order to insure that what we think we hear is the actual message and that the words being used are understood for what they intend to convey.

It is only when we have good communication that we have the ability to express ourselves and be heard. Those are the catalysts for action and progress. Those are the catalysts for change. We usually aspire to positive change an better conditions. There were social pressures impacting the Sandy Hill killer, pressures that he had no skill at verbalizing. So he resorted to exacting and relieving his frustrations on those around him. Ruling out insanity (which is the typical cop-out and label in situations like this), the ability to communicate his concerns may have gotten him associated with the person who could provide the tools and resources necessary to ameliorate the stresses and therefore prevent the rampage. We need to work on developing much better communication skills.

Not New

My friend, Patti Yaritz, shared an image on Facebook. It was an image of Martin Luther King, Jr. with an excerpt from his speech "Eulogy for the Martyred Children" delivered on September 18, 1963 in Birmingham, AL. It evoked a lot of thoughts, feelings, and recollections. I vocalized:

I remember the circumstances of this speech. It was during the time of the church bombings in the Deep South. I believe three little girls who were in Sunday School were the victims of a bomb that impacted their Baptist church. You're right, Patti. There isn't a lot of difference between the precious little lives that had faint opportunity to experience, much less violate, Life then and the ones that were violated last week.

And now all we have left is to hang our collective heads in misery, once we've spent some energy being angry and ranting at the world. But as we hang our heads in misery, we shall actively begin to construct new, better ways to encourage an age of reasonableness so that incidents such as these (and that are not a result of some type of formally declared warfare) will either be less likely to occur or will become a nonexistent alternative for anyone.

Let me use this window of opportunity to reassert my contentions from 2002. We in the employment industry need to develop (and be trained to identify) legal methods to determine who abusers and potential abusers are before we bring them into the workplace and thus give them a license to leak their propensities onto others who have nothing to do with the real underlying problem.

Abuse is a malignancy, a sickness, that is spreading its evil into many aspects of our lives. Communication is part of the remedy, to be sure. Respect is another. But abuse of good communication skills to the extent that they are not being used is one of the problems that needs to be solved. There are many other issues impacting us today. However, the demand for the reduction of abuse, increase of better communication skills are reaching a fevered pitch. We are past time to begin the remedies but we're not out of time.

Sponsored Link: Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected


Dave Howlett RHB said...

"But abuse of good communication skills to the extent that they are not being used is one of the problems that needs to be solved." - sorry, what does this mean?

As tempting as it is to classify a few folks as abusers, in my experience, we each have the potential to abuse. I believe the key issue is that people have lost the art of being able to debate without devolving into anger and vitriol.

I developed a code of conduct a few years back called RHB. I have been using it on my social media wall with great results - we have discussed gun control, parenting, religion, sex and politics. It is based on a self-awareness of behavior rather than good guys vs bad guys. I can explain further if you like.

Yvonne LaRose, CAC said...

It's good that you've developed the RHB code of conduct. I wish you would share the URL that will allow us to read it and learn about its principles.

Meanwhile, I'm also wondering how closely it follows the guidelines outlined in Anger Management 101. Those are extremely close to the ground rules used in successful mediation sessions. It's unfortunate that we don't use those guidelines in more of our daily transactions.

Yvonne LaRose said...

Apologies, Dave. I never answered your question about the meaning of that sentence. And answering that question is the very heart of what I was trying to say.

Too many times we're either too busy to follow up what was said with clarification (when requested) so that all the parties involved are talking about the same thing and hearing the same message. We have scant amount of time that can only be allocated in seconds. Sometimes that means the necessary focus to form a proper response cannot be done; too many other matters are pulling at us and demanding service.

The other thing that is an abuse of good communication skills is making assumptions. An assumption can go a long way toward taking us along the wrong path because the message was actually misinterpreted. Even with the most honorable intentions, an assumption is what it is - a guess at how to respond that may not be the answer that was requested. Or it's evidence that only a small part of what was communicated was actually heard.

The latter is so unfortunate. Some people act on misinterpretations and partial understanding. They don't have the full picture and go about trying to symbolically describe an elephant when in fact they've only seen the whiskers on the elephant's tail.

It isn't really a matter of being a good guy or a bad guy. It's a matter of making certain we have collected all of the information and collected it properly before acting on it.