There is a rhetorical flow of questions that surface when writing a performance review. What do I really think about the historical performance of the individual? How would I assess her/his potential? Given the answers to the first two questions, how able and willing is the individual to hear your view?
I find myself disciplining my reflection with all three questions. Not expressing my view is not an option; the question is how. Even as I struggle with what to say, I remember advice from ages past. “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” (1 John 3.17)
The key question as my view forms is the ability of the other to hear. Initially I assumed that the content of my message trumped all considerations. As I age, I am less certain that this is true. What good is it to make a point if the other is unable to hear? I can be right yet wrong. Regardless of my insight, how it is delivered is a something I would do well to consider.
As I think though my conversations this week, I find myself holding onto three truths.
My view, as insightful and important as it might be, is just my view. While I strive to ensure my opinion is informed, there is more that I do not know than what I do.
If my goal is to help, then letting go of my opinion is as important as offering it. We are responsible for our choices. The question in the moment to come is not about the others’ acceptance of my view. The question will center of how I can support the individual where s/he is.
Offering an opinion to anyone should come with a warning that it may not be accurate. While one should be sure of one’s viewpoint, one can never be 100% certain.
My goal is to help and be helped.