This is one of the most idiotic things I have ever heard. A recent study claimed that using profanity in the workplace was a good thing.
A study by Norwich’s University of East Anglia (UEA) into leadership styles found the use of “taboo language” boosted team spirit. Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management, warned that attempts to prevent workers from swearing could have a negative impact. But Professor Baruch discouraged swearing in front of customers. (read more from BBC article)
Mr. Baruch does go on to say that you should be careful in front of senior staff. He also says it pays to know how the staff feels about swearing.
Does it sound like he’s back peddling? Just a little.
For leadership, what I believe to be a much better approach is covered in my series of articles on Leadership Styles. The Authoritative style needs to be stressed in this instance. I agree that there are times when a department, team, or staff member need to be shaken out of their malaise or stupor relating to a given project. Sometimes a forceful and boisterous approach is needed to break people out of routine and light a fire underneath them. The key is knowing when to be authoritative and when not to be.
Overall, the BBC article speaks to the need for employees to vent their frustrations. While I agree, that employees should be allowed to vent and “blow off steam”, I would also suggest that there are numerous beneficial ways for this to happen. One organization I know of actually gives access to a punching bag and gloves, others use exercise equipment to allow employees to work out frustrations. [Editorial addition]
As for swearing, I would have to agree with the famous football legend and coach, Tom Landry: If , as an adult, you cannot express yourself in a vocabulary other than that of a high schooler, there is no place on this team for you.
Who knows what research may come out next? They may say that smoking is a good thing. Oh yes, that already came out.
– Leadership Styles: Dictatorial, Authoritative, Consultative, and Participative
– Leadership Styles: When To Use Them
– Leadership Styles: How They Affect Productivity
– Common Sense Management
– Common Sense Carrots
I have to disagree with you. The original article was saying that swearing in the workplace is sometimes beneficial since it allows the workers to vent their frustrations. The article didn’t say anything about swearing at the workers. It was more a case of knowing when to enforce the rules when it comes to workplace profanity.
jonolan, insightful comment as always. You are right the emphasis is on employees being able to vent. I’ll amend the article. Yet, while I agree it is always good to let people get out their frustrations, I would venture to say that there are many other ways this can be accomplished.
There are other ways true. I’m not going to reprimand one of my staff though when he curses out loud because a critical system in the data center crashed at 5:00Pm on a Friday though ;)
I agree. A slip of the tongue is another thing all together. -eb
Excellent post, Eric. I think there is no place in the work place for profanity. Your article reminds me of a post I wrote back in February at http://waypoint.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/5/ . In fact, it looks like you commented on my post back then. How ironic.
Steve, you are right. I used the same paraphrase from Tom Landry too. Nothing new under the… well, you get the idea. -eb