What if our communication fired a triple barrel round of acknowledgement, appreciation and encouragement, instead of criticism and name-calling? It would surely be easier to build relationships.
Certainly with the ease of communication across the globe today, if people disagree the most common place they start their opinion is with criticism. Also, all too often they are criticising the person with a name tag like stupid, idiot, leftARD, rightARD or maybe even custARD (just keeping it light!), plus a whole host of other names. They then start criticising the action, usually with similar labels. And often finish there, leaving it at that point, failing to add any viable alternative thought or balance. We have highlighted in the past the unfortunate situation around the fact that many sporting commentators have mostly moved to being third party critics.
I wonder where you start when listening to someone's words or observing someone's actions?
I admire the stance that Matt Church, founder of Thought Leaders Global, takes when taking in information. His starting place is 'yes and' or 'yes but'. He may have at some point started by calling someone names, but I have never heard him. I am not sure that any of us qualify to name others a certain negative character type. Usually the criticism carries a silent 'compared to me' on the end of it. As Matt often adds, comparison is a point of failure.
One of the things that is clear about Australia's National Rugby League premiers, the Melbourne Storm, is that they all know what their job within the team is and each gets acknowledgement, appreciation and encouragement as they play their part. Sports fan or not, you can see it in the interaction of the team and support staff both on and off the field. And when a player makes a mistake the team members are quick to encourage. The same can be said for the all conquering All Blacks, New Zealand's Rugby Union team. This formula can bring such unity to families, businesses, community groups as well as sports teams.
If anyone was to consider themselves a leader in thinking, surely the first thing to do in any situation where there is criticism is to go deeper into the comment to gain understanding of the context, or see where the person is coming from. It is important to ask questions like 'what lead to this statement?' 'What else do I need to know before I add my comment?'
I am sure, like me, you have heard these targeted names labeled at people you know personally. And while the person being criticised is not perfect, the person criticising has no idea of the character of who they are criticising and the good they are doing on the planet. Everyone is a sitting target; let's not be the shooter just because we can.
We are shaped by the company we keep.
So what can we do? (By the way, in my first two decades of my adulthood I was most of what I have described above.) Generally, we find the critics hang together, as do those who encourage.
If you are lacking in acknowledgement, appreciation and encouragement then who can you be intentional about getting into your calendar for a catch up? And who do you need to stop catching up with or listening to or reading about?
What company would others consider you to be?
Consider if you are being the best at 'acknowledging', 'appreciating' and 'encouraging' those around you as you can be! At the end of the day, we attract who we are. The rewards of firing these three attributes at others far out ways the brief 'feel good' moments of being a critic or putting someone else down.