I Swear, There Is No Need For That Language!

Senior flucht Schimpfworte in Sprachrohr

Good morning lovelies,

I hope this post finds you all well. It’s a lovely sunny day here in England and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Even if we’re locked down in our own secluded garden, just being able to sit out and hear the birds sing is quite a treat unto itself!

On Monday evening, Matt and I tuned in to our weekly treat of Celebrity Who Dares Wins. If you’ve never seen the show before, I briefly mentioned former SBS soldier Ant Middleton in my post here, in which I talked about leading and leadership. Today, I want to talk more about leading, and the lack of the need to swear.

Before we begin, let us just take a look at swearing and the five main types. According to Wikipedia, these are:

  • Abusive swearing – The aggressive type that most people would recognise straight away
  • Cathartic swearing- Ever stubbed your toe and said a swear? That’s cathartic swearing for you
  • Dysphemistic swearing – if I didn’t tell you that it was absolutely fucking shit, you wouldn’t believe it either, but that’s what dysphemistic swearing is
  • Emphatic swearing – Do you know understand how fucking useful emphatic swearing can be? it’s not just useful, it’s fucking useful
  • Idiomatic swearing –  Swearing basically for the sake of it with family or friends. Some people might see this as a lack of education

As a rule, a good leader doesn’t swear often, or more ideally, doesn’t swear at all. The more in control you appear, the more respectable you will appear, but I get it, we all fall apart sometimes.

Truthfully told, even I swear sometimes. I was always taught not to say ‘bad words’ (I can even remember Mum threatening to wash my mouth out with soap and water for dropping an ‘f bomb’ when I was nine) but there are some words that even I still find too strong. For some people, swearing is considered unladylike and that attitude sadly remains true to this day. Ladylike or not, I use cathartic, dysphemistic and emphatic swearing on a regular basis, because I happen to be in touch with my feelings.

But to me, there is a limit. As we counted one or Ant Middleton’s tirades, we counted 16 “fucks” and 7 “shits” in two minutes, all to a group of celebrity ‘commandos’ who had failed a beasting.

“You’re shit, you’re fucking shit, you’re super fucking shit..”. Really? Was there any need? After Ant’s coronavirus faux pas on Instagam, I’d lost a lot of respect for him. He no longer looked or sounded like a respectable leader to me, he just sounded like an angry man with not much else to say.

In my very personal opinion, the language that Ant expressed falls under abusive swearing. I understand the show is set to be military-style and the military can be a bit more rough and rugged, but this perhaps is also why I’m not in the military. I’ve already told my husband that my attitude to such language would be “have you got anything else to say, staff?”, and I would probably get us all a beasting. That’s just me, I don’t take kindly to people getting in my face and swearing at me. It doesn’t offend me like it used to because I grew up with abusive neighbours, so I’d seen it before. If someone starts swearing at me, I just lose all respect for them at that point, and respect is probably the first thing that a true leader needs.

I’d like to mention another name here that I really admire and a man that I look up to. Whether it be for his love for his family, his emphatic and empathetic leadership style or simply his world-famous love for cooking, his name is Gordon Ramsay. For me, Gordon is somebody that I could very easily get along with. He swears, he laughs and he’s relatable  with the people he coaches. He is three things that work well with me.

When I watched an episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares last night, the leadership style was completely different. Ramsay doesn’t doesn’t degrade people, he degrades performances. Ramsay doesn’t tell people that their efforts are shit without incentivising them to do better next time and he doesn’t grill them without giving them a chance to explain what’s really going on. Be it broken marriages, family burdens or past mistakes, Gordon gives his failing restaurant owners a chance to convey their troubles, person to person. Allowing a person to feel supported and understood is one of the key areas to guaranteed success, and guaranteeing their willingness to look to you for further leadership and inspiration. Even if the “recruits” in Who Dares Wins are given a chance to explain themselves in interrogation, there is no encouraging words or pep talk thereafter. Once they are out of interrogation, they’re on their own until they win or fail the course.

Why you swear is rarely meaningful, and even less so is what swearing might mean about you. People swear for a variety of reasons, but it is perhaps who we swear at which is the most important.

Over to you, what do you think of leaders who swear?

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful.

Helen xx

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