Updated: Feb 2, 2022
Our insatiable need for news is being fed by a series of major problems going wrong within the country, its political system, health and care services. I’m sure you can add more areas of concern.
'In a flap'. Photo by JJ Shev on Unsplash.com
However, no sooner has one crisis been unearthed and pulled apart, denied, evaded, humourised, reported on, had its lessons learned and then forgotten, then yet another crisis swiftly heads our way on the 24 news channels, whilst we are still reading about yesterday’s headlines in the papers. Thank goodness for Twitter so we can have out finger on the pulse second by second.
Confucius, the Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC - 479 BC) is an inspiration for me as an author and a manager, who tells it as it is. He is quoted in my first book MANAGE YOUR LANGUAGE How to Get Ahead in Health and Social Care: This is where the journey starts
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.’
Here Confucius, outlines the unfortunate consequences of muddy communication and why we need to be clear in what we say to each other, to avoid potentially serious misunderstandings.
I’m wondering what your thoughts are on reading this and if the sentiment resonates with you, i.e. does the quote make sense, in the light of current affairs and in your experience?
I even have a small model of Confucius on my desk. Why? Because what he said is so apt for our times as it was thousands of years before, (I’ve assumed this is a perennial problem throughout the world...).
Whilst listening to and collecting the unintelligible phrases used by managers in health and social care, I became aware that staff (myself included) were not able to do their job to the best of their ability if they had to constantly translate what their managers were saying, in order to get to the nub of a request, if ever. Now, I have a comic collection of phrases, with the title, 'When things go wrong'. For example, would you understand it someone said to you:
We need a conversation that doesn't reflect the here and now
I’m going to be ping ponged in the middle
This morning we will spend time looking forward using our crystal ball
Let's have a temperature check
If you do understand these then ask yourself why, if you don’t, then try and work out what's going on, reflecting on Confucius quote above.
What we can all do is talk as clearly and directly as possible without confusing everyone around us, whether deliberately or otherwise. Then we can all get on with our jobs and support the citizens of this country in whatever we do, as efficiently and as effectively as possible, without wasting ours and everybody else’s time and money.
Carolyn M Holmes (Author) www.manageyourlanguage.com