Why I Don’t Use the A or F Word


Why I Don’t Use the A or F Word

Here is an interesting Forbes profile on a new book by a positive psychologist, Michelle McQuaid. She’s presented as an expert in workplace interventions and offers strategies on how to make a bad boss better. I hope that it is possible to make a bad boss better, so I look forward to reading her book. There are times when I help, as a coach and consultant, with behavior modification and structured consequences for continued bad behavior and rewards for improved behaviors.

However, it is her title that really gives me pause “5 Reasons to Tell your Boss To Go F**k Themselves”. Well, I expect that title will sell books, as have other books with provocative titles received their notice. But, I am just not that kind of gal. I don’t use the F word or the A word. Heck I hardly use the B (bully) word. I prefer to think of bullying behaviors and people who are abrasive.

Why? Well, calling people names, using curse words and labeling people bullies just makes things worse. Even if, as McQuaid asserts, cursing makes us feel better, in reality it disempowers us. We lose our words, our analyses, our empathy and ultimately our humanity. We start to see the person we are dealing with as “the other” and that allows us to demonize them. And, if you are the target of bullying behavior, then you know what that feels like. How does doubling down on demonizing others help the situation? I cannot see it.

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years.  My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts.  You can contact me here.

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