Unprofessional Behavior

A very wise priest once told me “Emotions are never right or wrong … they just are”.

Ain’t that the truth? We have no control over how we feel about a situation. But we DO have control over how we behave in light of receiving bad news or discovering offensive information. Too many people forget to step back and reassess a situation and their own reaction before pushing forward and steamrolling over someone else’s feelings. There is no need to attack a person/people when in reality it is a situation that is really the root of the problem.

At the end of last week a decision was made by an RWA chapter that caused a firestorm of controversy. I was the unfortunate witness to the degradation of professionalism by writers who chose to make the discussion a personal crusade rather than a discussion about bringing about change. I’m not saying everyone mind you, but I was surprised at how many people lost their focus and allowed emotion to overrule their common sense and understanding of others’ feelings.

Am I saying that we should walk away from controversy? Hell no. I love a lively discussion (what others may consider an argument). I don’t shy from conflict … or stating my opinion. I honestly believe if more people spoke their mind there would be fewer people feeling like they are never¬†understood. Nothing burns my butt more than people asking for ideas and I’m the only one to speak up and the group thinks they have to do something my way because no one else says anything. So no, this isn’t about sharing your opinion or ideas. This is about doing it constructively. When my emotions are tangled in a situation I know it’s important for me to step back and make sure what I am saying is adding something to the solution, not just fueling the controversy. Nothing ever is solved by people fanning an ember of discontent, it creates nothing but a conflagration of mean-spirited finger pointing.

And finger pointing never solved anything.

Fortunately, the RWA chapter in question has backpedalled and solved the problem for themselves. I’m just not sure how long we’ll feel the repercussions of the personal attacks by many who chose not to remain professional. This past weekend has certainly been a sad lesson in human behavior for me.

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