As a pharmacist, a healthcare professional, I felt a compelling need to tell patients, supervisors, and colleagues everything that I knew or that I discovered.
I learned the hard way that certain information is not shared at all, other times it is a matter of timing. Relaying information at the right time is critical to favorable outcomes. A common question asked a pharmacist is, “What is this drug for, what is the drug supposed to do?” Often a drug has more than one use, or as it is said medically, it has more than one indication. A pharmacist does not always know the diagnosis of the patient and revealing a use of the drug for an indication that the patient does not have, is a severe communication error. The most devastating occurrence is poor communication over a psychotropic drug. The patient gets upset, contacts the doctor, and then the doctor is upset that a pharmacist relayed improper information to his patient.
The proper response is to say that this medication has several uses and I am not sure exactly for what your physician is treating. The patient often gives the pharmacist a dig, “You do not know what it is for, do you? You are just covering up your stupidity.” The pharmacist takes one on the chin but is doing the right thing.
In both my professional life and personal life I see individuals that keep everything “close to the chest” and others who wear their hearts on their sleeve, in other words, they bear it all freely and openly for the whole world to see and know.
The ones that hold back on self-disclosure may come across as hiding something, we may think of them as devious or spineless. They fear disclosure, especially in a competitive environment, that it might hurt them. However, withholding information on one’s self may be a good thing to do, holding back does not make one dishonest.
My experience tells me that everyone in every industry knows those that tell it all. The “all knowing ones” are known as drama queens, pity pot portrayers, or arrogant and self-righteous. So often, seeing them enter a room a feeling of confrontation fills the air. Bitter feelings towards these colleagues arise, and the goal becomes one to ostracize them.
Not saying something when there is the urge to do so is carrying it inside. It can be difficult to hold it, it can be upsetting, and it can irritate. There is the urge to communicate, to let someone know how you think and feel about those who hurt or have done wrong. However, then, communicating is not always the right choice. The immediate result would only be one of inflicting pain.
Like a great athlete, a great orator, a great leader, timing is everything. Wise people know what to say and when. Saying the right thing at the wrong time can produce horrific results. It is vital to choose our words carefully so that the communication is beneficial to everyone. Do not risk a personal relationship or a good business relationship by being foolish on timing and words said.
Become a keen observer. Watch, listen, and then reflect. Make a note of the sequence of events. Now use good judgment. Does bringing up a negative situation going to result in anything good? Is there a price to be paid to speak your mind?
Are you putting your career safety ahead of integrity? That is a judgment call only you can address. I cannot provide statistics to prove my point, but safety prevails over integrity much, much more.
Think about your communication traits. Are there those friends, work colleagues, and family that you say too much? When weighing on whether or not to relay negative news, do you focus on the welfare of the people involved and your organization or more on the need to talk?
The good communicator is a great listener, bides one’s time, and speaks when the time is ready for the benefit of all.