Friday, October 31, 2014

More Thoughtfulness, Less Volume

A Portland attorney wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal commenting on an article titled, "When the Boss Is a Screamer.” He makes a distinction between those who yell due to being emotionally unstable and those who yell to make a point.

As an example, he recalls when his commanding officer in the Navy screamed at him and he immediately “…got the message and it worked.”

The message might have also gotten through to him if it had been delivered with more thoughtfulness and less volume.

In my opinion, there are only a few valid reasons to yell: to warn others of impending danger, call for a wandering child or scream for help.

I have been on the receiving end of a screamer’s rant—it effectively closed my ears and my mind. In fact, when this has happened the result has been that I feel more empowered and consider the one yelling to be almost nullified.

The attorney ends his letter by stating, “There were many effective screamers when [he] started practicing law. However, the increase in female lawyers changed everything. Men yelled at each other and got over it. Women wouldn’t take it, wouldn’t forget it, and yelling proved so ineffective with them that male lawyers had to change their ways.”

I wonder if he knows just how telling these last words are. Because they are the final comments in his letter, we have no idea what he thinks of this turnaround. However, from his previous statement regarding his reaction to the commanding officer, my sense is he wishes the advent of more women in the profession had not forced the male lawyers “…to change their ways.”  

Most women will listen to calm reasoning and logical, back and forth discussion. We will not yield to someone whose only “weapon” is a thundering voice.

After reading this letter, I thought of the massive amount of political vitriol we’re bombarded with—the hateful and often untrue or taken-out-of-context broadcasts and broadsides which literally, and figuratively, scream at us.

Because facts are skewed and lies are strewn, I close my mind and my ears to all of this, no matter which “side” is doing the hollering. 

Instead, using some well-honed critical thinking skills, I listen to and read deftly and factually worded pieces regarding political issues. Admittedly, this process is more difficult than if I were simply a Gobemouche, believing whoever hollers the loudest. 

When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts.
When you have the law on your side, argue the law.
When you have neither, holler. 
~Al Gore