Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Open mouth, insert both feet

Sometimes you open your mouth and the words slip out before you have a chance to plug the hole.

We’ve all probably done it and we all usually regret it the minute they escape. It also stands to reason that they usually come back to bite you on the butt as well.

Yes, guilty as charged your honour, there was no malice behind my words, no wrong doing intended and yes they’ve come back to bite me on the butt because I believe someone has taken their own interpretation of what I said and told the person concerned.

In a high pressure work environment this is a big no-no when you’re trying to establish trust and open the lines of communication with project team members. Right about now I feel like an absolute twit (and that’s being kind)

My instinct is to defend and engage in the backlash via email but it’s really not worth it. The person really doesn’t know the whole truth or the context based on what that ‘do-gooder’ has told them, but I also know that what I said probably wasn’t appropriate either. Yep, I’m human – I screw up good, and often.

So I have to suck it up, accept that what I did was inappropriate and try to rebuild bridges without engaging in a ‘in my defense’ speech. This is often the hardest thing to do, accept responsibility for something we’ve done and not somehow justify our actions.

The funniest thing through all of this is that guilt is a huge weight to carry. I’d told my boss when I first realised my mistake and told him what I’d said, and then again when the abrupt email came through from the said person. Boss said to let it go don’t make it any bigger than what it needs to be.

Couldn’t help myself, I had to go and apologise because that’s how I am. The irony was that the person says he had no idea what I was talking about and that the email he had sent me was a joke. Basically I was requesting a quote for a newsletter and the quote he’d sent through had been quite pointed and abrupt. Step in guilty conscious which distorts everything.

I’m pretty sure he was just letting me off the hook, but at least the air was cleared and we both had a laugh together. My lesson going forward – think before I speak, then think some more and maybe think a bit more. Only then should I speak, and very carefully. What a great Communications Lead I am.

Cheers, Fi

I'm linking up with Bits of Bee

“Before you speak - ask yourself. Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, does it improve upon the silence?”


  1. Fi -- you are a great Communications Lead.

    and the fact you could laugh together, is the best remedy.

    well done.

  2. This is probably the best quote for me to follow - I should put it on my wall! I (way too often) speak before I think!Thanks for linking up :)

  3. such a true, true proverb. and yet, we all have tasted our toes many times over.

    I really like the last quote at the end of your post too.

  4. Ohh man I confess been there done that all to often. I for one think you are a great communicator. At least you are big enough to admit your wrong and try and undo what you have done. So many people just sweep it under the rug and then in the end it often times backfires even more.


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