Can You Make Meaning of the Violence in Tucson This Weekend?

I like most of you was enjoying a pleasant Saturday afternoon when a news alert appeared about the shooting in AZ.  Not again! Perhaps this time the leaders of our country will take notice as Congresswoman Gabby Giffords fights for her life and the family of Judge Roll mourns his loss.  The Pima County Sheriff was … eloquent when interviewed about the importance of watching our words and bringing civility into the passionate dialogues that take place in both State and Federal Houses of government. Personally I think we have gone over the edge with language and rhetoric.  Having seats in crosshairs, targets, and even labeling people we don’t agree with as evil is not acceptable.  Apparently Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman agrees.  See his column in Monday’s NYTimes. CLICK HERE

Last week I spoke of dedicating the year to peace.  How do we individually make a difference?  Those of us with faith are praying for the injured and sending loving thoughts to the families of those who have died.  Perhaps a note to our representatives and senators saying the rhetoric must end; civil dialogue is how we expect them to work together.

Each of us has to look within to see how we may have been changed by the recent vitriolic election cycle.  We were bombarded by negativity for months.  It takes its toll and sometimes without realizing it we begin to incorporate that language, those attitudes and behaviors.

As we work towards building engaged organizations you need to pay attention to your own language.  Are you welcoming the dissenting points of view in your organization?  Is your behavior welcoming and supportive of people who hold different views of how things should be done?  What is your attitude towards those who differ from you?  I know myself that sometimes when trying to meet a deadline I can be cross with a colleague or employee.  This happens most often when I am operating under stress and am on automatic pilot.  It doesn’t result in my best work nor does enhance my relationships with those I’m interacting with. I am committed to witnessing my own behavior and asking for feedback.  I am also committed to apologizing when I’ve offended another.  Will you make that commitment as well?

As the eternal optimist I’d like to focus on the good that can come out of this horrendous act. Perhaps each of us in our own way can pay more attention to our language, actions and behavior when dealing with others.