header
"I am human, only because you are human."
African Proverb/Allan Boesak

Get Leadership Notes by Email

Good afternoon.

My friend and colleague, The Ven. Dr. Ellen Clark King preached a fine sermon yesterday, and one of her comments inspires today's reflection. She noted that after a particular experience, there was a silence, "because there are times when words are not adequate."

And then, I was reading the work of coaching mentor and teacher Dr. Marilyn Atkinson, who notes that human language , as we know it, using our 'voice box', may be only about 50,000 years old.

As leaders in our culture, you and I are often expected to "respond appropriately" and that often means to verbally respond. I suggest that sometimes, responding verbally is not appropriate because "words are inadequate" and/or our language system is not evolved enough to articulate the depth of the emotions involved. For example, one of the lessons I learned while in my internship in palliative care, was "don't just do something, sit there."

As a leader you will need to respond verbally during difficult challenges and emotionally charged events. Do not however, be afraid of silence, it may be the most appropriate response.

I hope you find some quiet time for yourself this week.