Did you ever play the telephone game when you were a kid? For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, it is when you have a group of friends sitting around in a circle, and you start the game by whispering in the ear of the person to the left of you a statement so that no one else can hear. That person in turn whispers it into the ear of the person to the left of them, until it goes all the way around the circle and the statement is whispered back into your ear. Almost inevitably the statement that is whispered back into your ear is nowhere near what the original statement was! It is a fun game to play and always turns into a good laugh when the statement finally gets around to you.
But not when you are at work.
This week a version of the telephone game played out for me on my job. I had several meetings and talked with several different folks about some upcoming projects, and they in turn had meetings and talked about those projects amongst themselves. The message I delivered apparently did not get communicated in the same manner in which I intended for it to be delivered and confusion and bewilderment ensued.
For a Real Christian Businessman, the way you react to the telephone game at work is critical. After all of the meetings were over, several people contacted me to verify what it was that I said, as it didn’t all seem to add up to them. I could have gotten upset about how everything transpired, that what I said ended up turning into something else, etc. but I didn’t. Somehow I remained calm when talking to my co-workers and apologized for the confusion and proceeded to let them know what my original intent was. This reaction was well received, and we worked it all out in the end. Had I reacted in a defensive, confrontational way (which is what my flesh was pulling at me to do), it would NOT have been well received at all.
“Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” Prov 15:32 (ESV)
I learned something last week, and that is to be open to misinterpretation of what I say to others, even when I think I have made things clear. Fortunately in this instance I was wise enough to hear the correction, but there are PLENTY of times that I have reacted quite the opposite when someone is questioning what I have said.
Take this story as a reminder to continue to try and communicate what you want to communicate, but if the information gets played out in “The Telephone Game” be prepared to humble yourself, take the correction, and clear things up when approached.
It’s what a Real Christian Businessman would do.
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