Laughter Wreckage

They say that laughter is the best medicine.  However, this is not always the case…

I was sitting in a meeting last week and I made an observation regarding my personal experience on a topic.  What followed caught me completely off guard.   The person at whom I was directing my comments laughed at me.  Not a laugh like something funny.  This was a “you naïve boy” kind of laugh.  A real belly laugh!  I wanted to fire back with a statement like- “so wants so funny?”  I knew that it would be out of place (the conference room was full) and it would be provocative, so I left it alone.  I sat and wondered how long it had been that someone truly laughed at me.  Sure, I get laughed at when I do something funny or silly, but this was in response to an observation that I knew was factual on a subject in which I have thirty years experience.  There was no real purpose in the laughter.  If he disagreed with me he could have simply told me so.  Instead he chose to laugh in my face.

 English: LOL

I have to admit that it struck a nerve for a moment or two.  And this nerve runs deep.  It brought me back to schoolyard days of being laughed at by my friends.  It’s really amazing the damage that a little laughter can do when it is used as a weapon.  There is some really amazing irony here.  The thing that can give you such pleasure and fun can also be extremely painful.

It’s really character assassination…

We must treat a person’s feelings like a very fragile instrument.  Like an egg.  You should hold it gently and protect it from damage.  I have been on both sides of this, yet there is only one side that you can control.  I have been quick to speak or direct without considering the other side and have left the burning wreckage in the road.  As leaders, we must be extremely careful to consider how our responses will be received. 

Think of trading places…

The skilled leader has the ability to actually move out of their shoes and into the shoes of others.  This includes being able to visualize how the direction will be perceived including all of the personal characteristics that are at work in the situation.  Yes, there are some that need a strong voice.  They are accustomed to that style or that style is necessary given the circumstances.  However, some are very fragile.  A loud or harsh response will cause them to withdraw.  In trading places you have to consider the effort that they are making, not necessarily their results.  If you recklessly trash their work, you are sure to hurt their feelings.  You may have to authority to say what you want in any manner that you see fit.  However, I promise that you won’t be happy with the results.  If they disengage, you will struggle to win them back.  You may never win them back.  You may hit that nerve that brings them back to the schoolyard.  Remember that the goal is results- not just exercising your authority.

What do you think?  Press “Like” if you agree!  Have you experienced the “wreckage in the road”.  Press “Comment” and let me know what you think!          

Advertisements

About Joe Passkiewicz

Joe Passkiewicz is Vice President of LandSouth Construction and Lead Contributor of Leading By Serving, Leadership is for Everyone.

4 thoughts on “Laughter Wreckage

    • Thanks! Laughter is a crazy thing- mostly great but it can leave a mark if it is used improperly. Handle with caution! Thanks for your comments!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s