Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Our actions and words can stick like glue.

With all that’s being published, said, and felt about the current situation with Brian Williams, I’ve become hyper-aware of all of the notable and/or famous people who have nearly or completely ruined their careers through poor or thoughtless judgment, a lack of integrity, or a simple human error. Now there’s a level of vulnerability I’m glad I’m not dealing with.

I was thinking though, about the vulnerability we do have as professionals when it comes to our own actions and communication with our customers, employees, colleagues and community.

I often have the opportunity to talk with individuals confidentially about their perspectives (or perceptions) of the people they work for, or with. Certainly, there are situations when a person demonstrates consistent negative behaviors that turn people off over time. But what I find more interesting, is when someone behaves or speaks to someone in a way that generates bad feelings during an isolated incident, and the receiver of those actions or words holds onto unresolved negative reactions and feelings for months, or years.

What I’ve learned is that our actions and/or our words can stick like glue. What I’m reminded of is that although we may not have the same level of vulnerability of a famous news anchor or celebrity, it can’t hurt to be more thoughtful and aware of the impact that our integrity and day-to-day communications have on our relationships, credibility, and success.



  Daniel Hebert wrote @

Well said Donna,
I still like Brian Williams and forgive his flights of fantasy. The thing that first attracted me to world news vs. local news when I was a kid was the STORIES.
I have had a very few occasions to be in the news in my life time, never more than a paragraph or two and no one ever got it 100% correct. I always look at the news with a grain of salt and expect that no one is giving me the complete straight story. I suggest to everyone to get their news from several points of view.
I currently work with veterans every day and listen to their stories and always give them the benefit of the doubt because I’m there for them. The trouble arises when I can’t give them the straightest of answers based on what I’m allowed to communicate with them. I only ever get in trouble when I go off script and almost never with them. Dan Hebert

  donnarawadyblog wrote @

Thanks for your thought-provoking response, Dan. I also find myself sitting back and listening more. I often feel that I couldn’t possibly research all of the available data relating to a complex issue or situation in order to form a strong opinion. And, I couldn’t possibly know specifically what someone else’s personal experience or intent is.

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