When we make big mistakes, no need to point it out – we knew me messed up.
What about little mistakes?
We make those too – many. And we notice little mistakes others make.
Should we point them out? Should someone else point out ours?
That depends on context, depends on circumstances, depends on why?
Why do we feel compelled to point out someone’s error? To help them get better, to grow – as we would help a friend, colleague, student or child? Or to show them we are smarter, superior – or to put someone down?
When I give someone feedback I know I have to remember those things – be mindful and kindful (yes, a made-up word).
Someone wrote me the other day, pointing out three typos in one short piece. Yes, they are a communications-type, no doubt a more careful reader than most – and on that day, more careful than me. Was it important to point that out? By then my errors had been published, I knew I’d made a mistake, and so did that reader. I wondered why it was important to write me about it/to point that out. Was it about one person feeling superior, or about making someone feel bad – especially when they were already feeling embarrassment about their mistake? I don’t think it was kindful at all.
This paused me to wonder how many times I give someone feedback in exactly that context – pointing out what was wrong when it was too late to do anything about it, possibly with some smug superiority involved. I wonder if I’m too old to change that. Probably not, if I make the effort.
I, somewhat recently, finally, joined the mobile phone brigade. I haven’t given up my land line just yet, in case I forgot someone I want to have my new number. I now let all my land line calls go to my recorder. It rings at least 10 times a day, but averages less than 1 message. I, like you, when I’m in the mood, love to “play” with the cold caller until they hang up, LH, Lethbridge, AB
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