Negative remarks
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2019 - 12:00am

A defendant isn’t happy with how things are going in court, so he gives the judge a hard time.

Judge: “Where do you work?”

Defendant: “Here and there.”

Judge: “What do you do for a living?”

Defendant: “This and that.”

Judge: “Take him away.”

Defendant: “Wait, when will I get out?”

Judge: “Sooner or later.”

When a person is negative, the conversation reflects the disposition and it usually does not help the situation and would instead worsen it.

And here is another story. One exasperated wife says: “I have changed my system for labeling homemade freezer meals. I used to carefully note in large clear letters, “Meatloaf” or “Pot Roast” or “Steak and Vegetables” or “Chicken and Dumplings” or “Beef Pot Pie.”

However, I used to get frustrated when I ask my husband what he wanted for dinner because he never asked for any of those things. So, I decided to stock the freezer with what he really likes.

If you look in my freezer now you’ll see a whole new set of labels. You’ll find dinners with neat little tags that say: “Whatever,” “Anything,” “I Don’t Know,” “I Don’t Care,” “Something Good,” or “Food.” Now, no matter what my husband replies with when I ask him what he wants for dinner, I know that it is there waiting.” So, what do you see in these two stories?

They are cases of negative happenings as a result of failed communications. When communications or conversations turn negative, even something meant for good would lead to a negative result.

Take the case of performance reviews. One HR person says: “Performance reviews between our managers and our people always end up with almost 80 percent of the time talking about what was wrong and not what is right and therefore performance reviews do not work.” 80 percent of the conversation should be focused on what is right instead of what is wrong. Yet the reverse seems to happen most of the time. Perhaps this is due to the fact that most people have not been trained to communicate effectively and positively.

Managers and parents should remember that negativity is always more powerful than positivity and it takes at least four or five positive reinforcements to counter one negative remark just to go back to even. And unfortunately, there are managers all over the place that are so negative their words and conversations demotivate their people thinking that by doing so they can force, pressure, shame or humiliate their people and make them more productive. This is not the case. People who get ostracized all the time has less engagement in their jobs and they leave their companies leaving the rest to take up the gap and reduces productivity.

And so, the managers are not really doing the company a favor. We can chalk it all up and blame it on the people’s low emotional quotient, but the thing is that effective leadership means taking on the responsibility to mentor, guide and help grow the people even in this area and this starts with having the skills and the ability to communicate in a positive way.

Others do even worse. Some managers purposefully ignore their people. Being ignored is even more damaging than receiving a negative remark, when people are ignored their imagination assumes the worst and it instantaneously reduces productivity.

There is great value in simply paying attention to another person. And engagement begins with that.

George Bernard Shaw says: “The problem with communications is the illusion that it has taken place.” It is imperative that leaders communicate well. Effective communication is lubricant for execution and a lot of unnecessary conflicts could have been avoided if only people would communicate better. Scriptures even say “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone (NLT version).

And while communicating well requires a process of disciplined training meanwhile make sure that your communications be gracious and encouraging. Doing work is never easy but a positive remark and an encouraging tone can really inspire people to do even better.

One wag says: “For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism…” This should not be the case. Be more encouraging and inspiring as this diffuses tension. Effective communication is the language of effective leadership and I totally believe this and you should too.

(Experience two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop on Feb. 19-20 at Makati Diamond Residences across Greenbelt 1. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with