If You Look Before You Leap, Why Not Think Before You Speak?

“You might want to think before you say certain things,” I once ‘counseled’ an individual who routinely offended and hurt employees and others via insensitive and unprofessional discourse. The person, in turn, looked at me with disdain and retorted: “I don’t think you are in any position to tell me what to say or think.”

Watching Mayor Kilpatrick interviewed on T.V. this week I imagined my conversation being replayed between the mayor and his revolving door cast of press secretaries. Have any of them ever been able to adequately counsel the mayor in this regard? Fresh on the heels of the “text mess” here he was spending more taxpayer dollars appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court while telling the media that City Council displeasure with his actions was about “politics” and that “life would go on.” Easy for him to say—and his lackadaisical demeanor while delivering the words did, indeed, suggest to viewers (inappropriately I might add) that he was at ease with this position.

Call it ego. Call it a “power trip.” I call it shortsighted. Whether in a setting that is public or private, whether uttered by a person that is a public official or head of a private company, when you don’t think before you speak and, further, are unwilling to consider input from those trained and in a position to provide it, you are setting yourself up to fail.

Think about it. All of us remember idiotic or inappropriate words and comments, whether directed at us individually or the masses. Sure, we may forgive—maybe. But we never forget.