Senior managers and executives wield enormous influence with regards to the direction of their company. The morale and motivation of the workforce can be decimated with just a few misspoken words, turning an efficiently producing company to a distracted circus of chaos. It’s no wonder that executives are thoroughly trained in communications skills, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Social Intelligence (SI).
To understand the power of words with regards to the efficient operation of a business, consider a false allegation of misdeeds within the ranks of a company’s management. Suddenly the company must drop its focus on productivity to some extent to either begin an internal investigation or if the allegations are of a very serious nature, begin a public relations damage control campaign. Another real world example may occur when/if an executive makes a crude joke among his friends or inner circle, but the comments are revealed to the public via an open mic, hidden camera or word of mouth. Executives have had to step down over actions as simple as forwarding a sexually offensive joke to a buddy over email.
External voices often force actions in the scenarios described above, but other problems can occur from within. Outspoken employees can create a firestorm within a company over taboo topics like religion or politics, sometimes beginning as harmless conversations in the breakroom, but ending as shouting matches. Left unchecked, a company can be torn with dissension in a matter of hours or days.
A badly worded performance review may drive a wedge between an employee and his manager. What was meant to be constructive criticism for an otherwise valued employee may be construed as disapproval, causing the employee to become disgruntled. If that employee doesn’t voice his anger directly to his manager, his actions may be toxic to the entire group as he/she begins a campaign to ‘get revenge’ by spreading rumors, bad-mouthing the manager or the company itself, stealing items, or worse. The inevitable result is reduced productivity among the group and plummeting morale.
To prevent all manners of issues within a company, managers and executive are trained extensively to be alert to their employees’ moods, thought processes and feelings. They are taught how to communicate with finesse, how to give constructive criticism in a way that’s received positively and how to control their emotions at work, even in times of turmoil and conflict.
Training Administrators or HR Managers who manage their organization’s internal training schedule can find a full suite of training just for managers. Management training can be delivered in a variety of ways, including online webinars, on-demand training that can be accessed at any time, or live in-person seminars. If you have a team of managers, you can even opt to bring a trainer to your organization to develop your entire management team’s skills at once.
Our American presidents have been amazing leaders, innovators, diplomats and statesmen. They have begun wars, ended wars as victors, healed nations and changed the world. Every one of our presidents has made significant contributions to the country, and to the world, but so often, their accomplishments are overshadowed by what they’ve said, and how they said it. Because quotations are easy to remember, particularly if they invoke a strong emotion such as anger or joy, they are often remembered more than specific accomplishments of the president who spoke the words. It’s a sad truth, and in today’s age of Twitter and 24-hour news channels, the sillier statements made by our presidents have longer lasting life than the important, serious statements made by the same president.
As an example, how many people can recite a quote on a serious topic from president Clinton? Not too many. Some might be able to remember vaguely what he had said or accomplished on welfare reform, the Bosnian conflict or the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, but almost everyone will remember him saying “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”, or “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski.”
Take President George W. Bush, for example. If you ask what he accomplished in office, so many people will not be able to answer definitively, but ask for some quotes, you’ll find phrases like “put food on your family”, “Bring it on” and “fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.”
Even our current president is known for misspeaking and said “I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go” on the campaign trail. Vice president Quayle is almost entirely known for misspelling “potato”. President George W. Bush is known for mispronouncing nuclear as “new-cue-ler”.
It’s unfortunate that words can have so much power, but it’s a reality. There’s no way to control the spread of misstatements, but at least we can remember the accomplishments of our illustrious presidents.
Last week, an unsuspecting sheriff’s deputy, Darren Goforth, was gunned down execution style at a convenience store in Houston after getting gas, causing overwhelming support for the men in blue. There were, as there always are, a few dissenting opinions. One young woman’s off-the-cuff remarks on Twitter received special attention nationwide for its wording. This woman’s tweet clearly illustrates the power and impact of words.
A quick analysis of this tweet is as revealing as it is shocking. The first phrase of the tweet reveals either her hatred for policemen and policewomen, a lack of respect for the family of victim of horrible crime, or simply awful judgment – or all three. The media’s research into who Monica Foy is has revealed her to be a member of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which is in some form or another an anti-police movement. So it’s clear that she is predisposed to distrust members of the police force, but it would be hard to believe that she would stoop so low as to not “care about a dead cop”.
The next part of the first sentence indicates that she feels he must have deserved to be shot to death. As a member of a movement that states that “Lives Matter”, it’s hard to come to grips with the gritty irony of her statement. Did she, as a #BlackLivesMatter movement supporter, ask the same question of Michael Brown, Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin? Perhaps her statement was just a poorly worded question about what the motive could have been for shooting Deputy Goforth.
The final statement of the tweet is the climax to a mountain of ill-worded thoughts – “He had creepy perv eyes…”. This statement alone says volumes about the character and thought processes of this woman. First of all, she has made it clear that appearances are of significant importance to her, perhaps because she has been judged by her appearances, particularly her weight. Although it is implied, it’s unlikely that she feels that someone with “perv eyes” deserves to die. The comment was made tongue-in-cheek, as a joke to win approval of those who read her tweets. She most likely is desperately seeking to be accepted and approved among her peers, whomever they may be. One can only imagine who wouldn’t be appalled by this statement, and would their approval and acceptance really have any value?
Finally, this 29 word tweet has probably destroyed her life. She has become a laughing stock to the entire country (or world), was subsequently arrested on a four year old warrant as a result, has made an enemy of the police force and probably will be expelled from the university she has been attending. Her life has been irreversibly changed for the worse. She may find it hard to find employment now. She may not be able to complete her degree, and she may be forever identified by the stigma of being a cop-hater. She may be a fun-loving easy-going individual, but her words have changed the world’s view of her forever, from which she may never recover.