Friday, June 25, 2010

Mind your P's & Q's

"Mind your p's & q's."  Have you ever heard the phrase?  This expression, meaning "be very careful to behave correctly", has been in use from the 17th century on. Theories include: an admonishment to children learning to write; an admonishment to typesetters (who had to look at the letters reversed); an admonishment to seamen not to soil their navy pea-jackets with their tarred "queues" (pigtails); "mind your pints and quarts"; "mind your prices and quality"; "mind your pieds and queues" (either feet and pigtails, or two dancing figures that had to be accurately performed).
I recently saw an entry from http://www.jenfongspeaks.com/ that reminded me of this phrase.  Jen addressed those who publicly (on Facebook) trash or complain about their companies.  Isn't that just common sense?  You work for (or you're an independent contractor representing) a company, and you trash talk?  Publicly?  In front of potential customers, clients or team members?!
I was always taught that there is "a time and a place".  Maybe you do have frustrations or even legitimate complaints.  Bad mouthing will not only make you look petty, crazy or stupid, but it may even get you fired or harm your personal business.
When you need to address an issue or situation, seek out the individual who has the most influence over the problem.  Clearly define what the problem is and WHY (be specific and use examples).  Offer a solution.  Maybe you just need to vent.  Seek out a support person and let 'er rip!  OK- you have to warn them first that you need to vent, set a time limit, and when you're done, you're done.
As leaders, it is very important to look at the positive side of every situation.  Your influence can raise those around you up, or drag them down.  Your complaints will do nothing but harm if not focused correctly.  Have you been minding your p's & q's?

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