Over the last few weeks I have been having trouble sleeping. When up way past my bed time, I like to pull out my headphones and relisten to sermons and talks as I try to drift off to sleep. Such was the case last night (this morning) as I dialed up Ted Lowe's talk from Watermark's Uncommon Marriage Conference. Ted dropped some solid gold on the topic of tone that has implications far beyone just marriage.
What is tone? In short, tone can be defined as our overall posture and attitude towards others.
It's rarely discussed, but vitally important. Today I want to help you be mindful of your tone by discussing a few insights from Ted Lowe.
1. It's not really the big things that get us into trouble, it's often the small things. We know this to be true because we tend to fight over some pretty silly things. In those moments the topic isn't the problem, tone is. We bow up. We raise our voice. We shoot back snippy and snide remarks. Knowing tone is more important than the content of our words is a huge advantage. If you want to stand out at work or just in life in general, keep watch over your tone.
2. Tone is a choice. No matter how upset or hurt we are we still have the ability to control how you respond, you just might often choose to respond unkindly. Recognize that you have the ability to make choices about your behavoir, beginning with your tone. Instead of passively allowing words and emotion to drip from your lips, actively choose your responses. It's not easy and will be a life long battle, but it's one worth fighting.
3. Asking others helps us become aware of our tone. Sometimes you aren't aware of your tone. You're too caught up in the emotion of the moment. A sign of maturity is to ask other people to help you evaluate your tone. It's a scary thing and you probably won't like what you hear, but it will help you grow. Ask your supervisor or others close to you, "What's my tone when things go wrong?" Ask and thank them for the information. Don't under estimate the value of other people who can help you see things in yourself and change.
This is part of being a leader. Leaders consider their tone and adjust it when necessary.