There has been a lot of talk going around ever since, while being interviewed at an event, the current CEO of Yahoo uttered some choice words at the reporter in her response. It’s been discussed and debated as to whether or not that was proper, with the split coming around 60% against her doing it.

Those who have supported it said that it shows the CEO has passion about the company and is rallying the troops. Those against it say that it shows a lack of control, and that if a CEO can’t keep control of emotions when being watched, then there’s no telling what that person will do behind closed doors.

I tend to agree with the majority on this one. I don’t think any big business issue has ever been won by using a lot of bad language. As a management trainer, one of the things I always try to stress is to keep control of one’s emotions as much as possible when dealing with others because what employees are normally looking for is consistency in a manager’s behavior. Being on pins and needles because they’re worried that the manager might at any time snap and yell at them means you have employees concentrating on keeping the manager happy rather than the job they have to do.

I’m someone who’s never uttered a curse word, so my belief might be different than someone else’s. However, I’m also someone who’s never had a manager utter a curse word at me when talking to me about an issue that they hope I’ll address. As a matter of fact, only twice have I had someone even raise their voice at me, the same person as a matter of fact, and when it happened the second time I addressed it in my own way, firm yet controlled, and the warning was in my own tone and words; don’t dare do it again. He got it, and never did it again; by the way, this wasn’t someone I reported to, which is why he got a second chance.

I have heard other managers use a lot of bad language without their being a situation, and I have to admit that my respect for them was immediately diminished because there was no reason for that type of behavior. It wasn’t a bowling alley or a sporting event, and those managers weren’t hanging out with their friends at a social event. If there’s no decorum in the workplace, then there shouldn’t be any expectation of being respected because it’s certainly disrespectful to everyone else.

I have a friend who has always followed a certain motivational guru and respected this man. Last year he heard a new interview with this guru and the man, trying to sound hip and modern, was cursing throughout the interview. My friend, who’s known to throw around a curse word or two (former military) said he lost respect for this man because that wasn’t how he had ever perceived the guy, and his words were contrary to how he had always presented himself to everyone in the media and in workshops. Perception is always reality, whether we want to believe it or not.

How do you feel when someone utters language like that in the workplace? Are you someone who does it? Please share your thoughts; you know mine.

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