I thought that would capture your eyes today because it’s a perennial hot topic in our industry. Today, we’re going somewhere else—interpersonal communication—that thing where a message is sent from one person to another, and another message returned. Interpersonal communication can be in-person, over the phone, through email or text—you name it.
When interpersonal communication doesn’t "go direct," it’s usually not for a positive reason. My grandma calls it “gossip.” She doesn’t email, but I’m guessing has experienced her share by the neighbor’s fence or over the phone. In an office environment, it’s called “office gossip.” By email, it’s sometimes considered “keeping people informed.” Seriously?
Most humans, by nature, avoid conflict. If we have an issue to take up with another person, ideally we approach that person, talk with them and work it out. If we can’t work it out, another person might be brought in to help. Too often we skip step one and go straight for what we feel might be more effective—complaining to the potential mediator or higher authority about how we feel we were wronged or what the still unknowing first person did incorrectly.
Our high school athletic director has a cardinal rule: if a player has an issue, they need to go to the coach directly and discuss it. This can include playing time, why they didn’t get to start, why they aren’t in agreement with something—it doesn’t matter. The player going straight to the athletic director is a no-no—they’ll be turned right back to the coach. The parent going to the coach is off limits unless the player already approached the coach and the issue wasn’t resolved. (Most kids would rather be tortured than to have their parents go to the coach.) The concept, which originated with Biblical times, is extremely simple.