"WE'RE SURE A LOT OF VOICES WERE TELLING HER JUST TO BE QUIET."
The recent drama and real life of morning TV talk show "Live! with Kelly and (Michael?)" has a couple of simple and important lessons to offer. Singer-songwriter duo Jill and Kate spell them out in their blog post, "Why We Care About Kelly Ripa's Return."
We definitely have no problem communicating in quantity. But, quality communication in a professional situation isn't so common or easy.
Kelly Ripa took a couple of days off from her show after learning, literally at the last minute, of her cohost's upcoming departure for a new morning talk show. A lot of people wrote a lot of words in a little time after they learned the news. Kelly only said she wouldn't be at work the next day.
When she was back on the air a few days later, she transformed melodrama to a lesson in respectful communication. She spent a little time thinking and waiting so that she wouldn't say something she regretted -- in an always-now-first-immediate-authoritative culture of barely moderated social communication.
Then, she came back. And she talked. She talked about tact, and respect, and acknowledgment. She talked about the absence of these and how they can be achieved.
Some workplaces are awful, unproductive environments because colleagues either speak too rashly, speak too evasively, or cultivate a culture of oppressive silence where to speak at all (about difficult, relevant situations) is subject to penalty. We can't get things done if we say things without honest intention (that is, all heart, no mind). We can't thrive, professionally, if we say things without honesty (that is, with disingenuous rosiness and active denial of true problems and their consequences). We can't survive if we don't say what is happening and has happened and if we coerce others to keep silent "so we can move on."
Truth-telling is complicated and it is critical. It's also productive: telling our stories in support of improved (workplace, social, relationship) life and health.
(I had the privilege of teaching and advising Jill and Kate back in their undergrad days. I recommend reading their story of consequential workplace truth-telling and breaking silence.)
Image from Live! and people.com. Cross-posted on LinkedIn.
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