最危險的職場武器

By:Robert J. Tamasy
近年來職場上充滿了暴力,這讓人感到悲傷。專家們束手無策,不知道原因為何,也不知道解決的方法。但這裡所說的職場暴力和實際的行為形式不同,很少被注意到,但每天卻造成極大的破壞。

這樣令人身心俱疲的破壞和慘重的暴力來自於口舌的濫用。

我們大部分的人會看到這樣的景況,首先是主管不恰當地怒斥下屬。然後同事之間的開始討論引起一股不滿和苦毒的情緒,接著他們彼此互相批評。有時我們也會看到,一個顧客因為收銀員的小錯誤大罵,雖然這個收銀員已經盡了全力去彌補錯誤。

因著新的科技,過去的唇槍舌戰現在已經擴張大範圍了。為了快速,人們會使用電子郵件和簡訊或是語音留言,來表達他們的不滿。我們發現自己不放過任何機會,並且也有更多的媒體管道讓人們有表達的空間。

當然,口舌的問題是個老問題了。在網路還沒出現之前,甚至沒有人聽過簡訊和推特之前,美國的總統杜魯門就已經證實在情緒平復之前的溝通是多麼地危險。他立了一個規矩:每封盛怒之下寫的信件寄出去之前必須在他桌上停留24個小時。只有經過「降溫期」之後他的想法仍然沒有改變的話,他才會寄出這封信。據說在他生命的最後時刻,杜魯門已經累積了一整個抽屜的「憤怒信」。

杜魯門總統使用此法來回應數千年以來一直存在的問題:「憤怒」。聖經裡在很多地方也討論這個問題,尤其是在雅各書。「這樣,舌頭在百體裏也是最小的,卻能說大話。看哪,最小的火能點著最大的樹林。舌頭就是火,在我們百體中,舌頭是個罪惡的世界,能污穢全身,也能把生命的輪子點起來,並且是從地獄裏點著的。 各類的走獸、飛禽、昆蟲、水族,本來都可以制伏,也已經被人制伏了; 惟獨舌頭沒有人能制伏,是不止息的惡物,滿了害死人的毒氣。我們用舌頭頌讚那為主、為父的,又用舌頭咒詛那照著 神形像被造的人。」(雅各書3章5-9節)

我承認自己也是一個舌頭肇事者。多年來,每當憤怒來臨時,我會用憤怒的字眼來表達我的不愉快。這樣做可以發洩我的挫折感,但是對聽者來說卻是一個大災難。所以,如何處理危險的武器:「舌頭」是一個重要的功課,以下是重點分享:

說話之前,請謹慎思考。我們經常覺得自己是對的,但是如何去表達不造成傷害才是重點。「多言多語難免有過;禁止嘴唇是有智慧。」(箴言10章19節)

尋求造就、而非破壞。生氣的時候,我們經常會用話語來攻擊人,但是用言語造就鼓勵人是更好的。「污穢的言語一句不可出口,只要隨事說造就人的好話,叫聽見的人得益處。」(以弗所書4章29節)

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。最近他還編輯Gary Highfield所寫的書「當『想要』變成『必須』!」要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com 。

省思 / 討論題目 你是否曾經看過有人用言語來霸凌另外一個人?那樣的場景,讓你感覺如何? 沒有恰當地運用舌頭和語言,是否是困擾你的問題?你曾經處理過這個問題嗎?現在你如何處理? 對於經常濫用語言霸凌他人的人,你如何回應?如果這樣的人出現在你的職場上,你會如何回應? 以弗所書鼓勵我們正面地使用語言,用來造就人而不是傷害。是否有人用言語建造鼓勵你呢?最近你是否也用語言來正面積極地建造他人呢?如果有,這樣的經驗帶給你甚麼感受呢?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言4章24節,10章20-21節,11章12節,12章14、23節,13章3節,16章23-24節,20章19節,22章11節

THE MOST DANGEROUS WORKPLACE WEAPONBy Robert J. Tamasy
Sadly, recent years have been marred by horrendous acts of violence in the workplace. Experts have struggled to pinpoint causes and solutions for such incidents. But there is a very different form of violent behavior that receives virtually no attention, but every day causes great damage.

I refer to the devastation and grievous injuries caused by the misuse and abuse of a “weapon” we all possess: the tongue.

Most of us have observed situations where a supervisor berated a subordinate in an angry, inappropriate manner. Colleagues having a discussion that spiraled into a disagreement and then a series of harsh, disparaging comments toward one another. A customer verbally attacking a retail store clerk for some perceived wrong, oblivious to the fact the worker was doing everything possible to remedy the situation.

Thanks to technology, the danger of sharp tongues has expanded into the virtual realm. In haste, people craft mean-spirited emails and text messages, or leave voicemails expressing their ire. We find ourselves inclined to share a piece of our minds we can ill afford to lose, via various social media outlets.

This problem, of course, is hardly new. Long before anyone ever envisioned the Internet, when no one had heard of texting and tweeting, U.S. President Harry Truman recognized the jeopardy created by communicating before time could cool heated emotions. He established a personal rule that any letter written in anger must remain at his desk for 24 hours before it could be mailed. Only after this “cooling off period,” if his thoughts had not changed, would he proceed to mail a letter. It is said by the end of his life, Truman had accumulated enough un-mailed angry letters to fill a large desk drawer.

But even President Truman was responding to a problem that had already existed for thousands of years. The Bible addresses this in numerous passages, notably the book of James. It states, “…the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire…no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison…. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God”s likeness” (James 3:5-9).

I admit to having been a perpetrator myself. For many years, whenever anger boiled up I would spew words to voice my displeasure. This might have relieved my frustration, but it caused great harm to my hearers. Then I learned some important lessons for handling this dangerous weapon we call the tongue:

Think before speaking. We often feel totally justified in what we are thinking, but expressing those thoughts aloud can cause much more harm than good. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

Seek to build up, not to tear down. In anger we can use words to attack others, but it is much more productive to use words to build them up and offer encouragement. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Tufting Legacies; Business At Its Best; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, as well as other books. He writes a regular blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions Can you recall any moments when someone verbally abused another person? How did situations like that make you feel? Has misuse of the tongue or abuse of others with words ever been a problem you have struggled with? If so, how have you handled that – how are you handling it now? How would you respond to another person that habitually abuses people verbally? Do you think it is even your place to get involved? Explain your answer. The verse from the book of Ephesians urges us to use speech in positive ways, to help people rather than to inflict hurt. Can you think of a time when someone did this for you? Can you think of a recent occasion when you had an opportunity to say something positive and constructive to another person? If so, what were these experiences like for you?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions from the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 4:24, 10:20-21, 11:12, 12:14,23, 13:3, 16:23-24, 20:19, 22:11

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