• Maureen O'Toole

Nice Is a Four-Letter Word Too

What I’m Thinking About: Foul Mouth = Foul Leadership

A professional friend often recommends podcasts, books and coaches to me, all of which she partakes in herself. Unfortunately, she often caveats the referral with “Once you get used to the F Bombs…” or “She swears a lot but she has a good message.” or “He’s gives people a hard time but he’s got a big following.”

If someone in a leadership role regularly uses profanity as punctuation and for emphasis and/or uses an argumentative leadership style, I’m not following!

Why You Might Be Thinking About This: Polite is Right

As a 22-year-old Army Lieutenant, I learned this from my father, who spent 27 years in the Air Force and retired as a Colonel, “You can say whatever you need to say. Just do it respectfully.” Dan and I are successful business people who provide Executive Coaching and Inspirational Speaking without using foul language and haranguing clients. Our commitment to polite, respectful behavior puts clients at ease and builds trust. After working with a hot-tempered client, we also committed to only work with clients who use a respectful interactive style.

Does someone in your workplace lead using profanity and haranguing? This type of behavior tears down people rather than building them up. Undoubtedly, this behavior represents a destructive leadership style. Negative, harassing, and domineering leadership behavior can build fear, resentment, distrust and “foul up” a good organization.

Customer, boss, co-worker – polite is right.

Why It’s Worth Thinking About: If You Don't Have Something Nice To Say...

The next time you’re tempted to swear at a co-worker, try saying something nice instead. A compliment on something your co-worker does will help you soften your tone if you move on to explaining what is causing frustration. It’s just as easy to find something nice to say to someone as it is to find something negative to say. And a daily practice of speaking nicely in the work place creates a nicer work place!

Do you work for someone who has a “foul” leadership style? Find a way to address the negative impacts of this behavior, by yourself or with the help of co-workers or with a Human Resources representative. If the behavior doesn’t improve, consider looking for a new position in an organization that has politeness and respect as core values.

Ready to build a positive leadership environment? The Sandbox Group is ready to help you.