1. A boiled sweet, often bought by children in little twisted paper bags on the way home from school.
  2. A pejorative term meaning rubbish or nonsense. 

The language our leaders use

The use of the word ’Humbug’ recently by the PM of the UK has caused a stir. First in parliament, then with the media and the public at large.

The use of such divisive language is appalling because it alienates. It is even more serious when it comes from our leaders since they are in a position of influence and should, therefore, act as role models.

When tensions are at a peak, as they are currently in this country, one little word, which may slip by without consequence in different circumstances, can cause the uproar which we are currently experiencing.

The upside to this (as an optimist there must surely be one!) is that the incident has sparked public debate about language usage from our leaders. A debate which will not end in politics, but will have a much further reach across all kinds of organisations, both public and private.

To quote the Bishop of Leeds:

It is incumbent on those who lead to tell the truth, use language wisely (with a view to consequences) and behave with responsibility and respect.

This is not about being politically correct

It is about being more conscious of the words we use. Because words, and how we say them, have the power to connect or to distance one person from another, one tribe from another. They lay the basis for relationships. They can nurture or break already tenuous bonds.

We learn how to communicate in our early years, by practicing what we hear from people in influence like our parents, family members, our teachers. When a small child can’t get what it wants to satisfy its needs it makes itself heard. Toddler tantrums are the outburst of frustration when needs are not met. If some adults don’t progress past this stage, are they to be reprimanded or pitied?

Our early years’ programming may not have given us all the best starting point in life. We may still feel unable to express our frustration and disappointment in times of stress because words fail us.

So, how can we manage difficult situations while remaining respectful?

As human beings, we all have a choice. To be conscious of how we react, or not, to any given situation.

In our communications work with people in organisations from all walks of life, we help them find ways to be more conscious – of their words and their responses.

The ability to choose these at any given moment can be trained. There are lots of ways and models to do this and what people take away has to be something that works for them.

Want to learn how to manage your triggers?

Click here for a simple exercise that helps reduce stress in the moment and allows you to choose a more conscious reaction to a given situation.

This is one of many techniques we can teach you and your team. If you would like to know more please contact us, or subscribe to our e-news which includes coaching and leadership wisdom, business insights, case studies, practical exercises, resources, invitations to events and other advice that will radically enhance your performance and that of your team.

Other posts you may be interested in
The Value of Values

The Value of Values

Purpose and Values are strongly interlinked. The definition of “values” could be summarised as: what is important to us, what we value. They are a shorthand method for describing our needs and our inner motivations. Our values are revealed in what we believe and in...

Leadership lessons from an NHS Development Champion

Leadership lessons from an NHS Development Champion

The challenges faced by the NHS are many and well documented. Limited resources with an increasing and insatiable call on those resources. Someone winning recognition for bringing solutions to this area is bound to be noticed (as indeed Donal Collins was when invited...