“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.”Proverbs 17:27
My tie felt like a noose around my neck that got a little tighter with each word from my District Manager. I was 22 years old and had just finished a walking tour of the department I was responsible for at the WalMart I helped to manage. I don’t remember everything he said, but I do remember one thing. “I’ve spent the last 30 minutes walking these aisles with you and telling you how to fix things, and you haven’t taken one note.” The words hung in the silence as I struggled for a reply. “Well, I was relying on my co-manager and saw that he was taking notes,” I muttered, hoping that would suffice. It did, and we moved on.
I remembered those words, and believe me, I took extensive notes the next time he came for a tour. I also remember the way he said what he said. Firmly and clearly, yes, but also kindly. He wasn’t happy that I hadn’t taken any notes, and it was foolish of me not to. He rebuked me for it, but in a way that was not degrading. He was a man of knowledge and a man of understanding, and I appreciate him for it to this day.
I also learned more than just to take notes. I learned to listen and be grateful for constructive criticism, and I learned a lesson on how to give constructive criticism. The truth sometimes hurts, but are you careful how you use your words, especially when you need to correct someone?