You don’t have to look very hard to find people behaving badly in just about any walk of life. I found five stories without even trying (CEOs, Baseball umps, “Regular People 1, Regular People 2, and Athletes). If you spend more than two seconds on any news site or with the TV on you are bombarded with adults behaving badly. Granted, it is disproportionally bad behavior that is broadcast because, well, it’s news.
But even in everyday life I see adults engaging in behavior that we shouldn’t even accept from children. Just yesterday I witnessed an adult in a screaming match with a store employee over a return policy and in the same store saw someone cut in line because they didn’t think the person in front of them was moving fast enough. What is going on with our society that being a grownup no longer means behaving like one?
This is the problem and how we fix it:
‘Feelings’ has become the new F word while the real f-bomb is dropped without a thought. I can hardly be in public without having to hear it. Sitting in traffic with my window open, waiting for a friend in a sushi restaurant, in a stadium trying to enjoy a double-a ball game, I have even heard it in boardrooms. But say the word feelings or have the audacity to ask someone how they’re feeling and everyone looks at you askance.
I hate to break it to you but those emotional tirades people go on and use the f-bomb (a completely useless word that provides no meaning to the conversation what-so-ever) are driven by feelings. In most cases, feelings that aren’t understood and that person has no idea how to manage: hence the explosion.
Speaking of not knowing how to manage our feelings – how are we supposed to learn what to do with negative feelings? Who teaches this stuff? I mean other than sport psychologists and executive coaches. It seems that somewhere along the way we have forgotten to teach our young people how to have a disagreement without being rude, disrespectful and throwing a tantrum. Now we have people who don’t know how to manage anger and disappointment raising children. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel very good.
Why does it matter? Well aside from general human decency (which I think is a pretty big issue), knowing how to use productive conflict and engage in a professional disagreement has been shown to lead to greater success. And success leads to more happiness and higher income. Need evidence? See here, here, here and here.
What are we going to do about it? Well I don’t know about you, but I am on a campaign to show people from junior high through CEOs how to understand what they are feeling and to use language powerfully to move toward resolution rather than epic meltdown. You can call it organizational development, teambuilding, professional coaching or team psychology. Whatever label you put on it the bottom line is this – grownups who are able to act like grownups are going to get further in life. And I am not suggesting people suppress their feelings. In fact I teach exactly the opposite. We all can benefit by learning how to express ourselves productively rather than using the volcano method (push it down until the pressure is so great it explodes).
And while we’re at it, if we could tone down the use of the f-bomb it would make it a lot easier to focus on what people are trying to say rather than being distracted by their lack of vocabulary.
What is your most recent experience of someone not acting like a grownup in public? Share it here.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard is the CEO/Owner of the speaking/consulting company Champion Performance Development, the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the book ‘Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams’. She specializes in showing people how to use language powerfully to achieve more from their potential. You can invite her to give one of her funny, powerful, informative presentations and inquire about her other services at www.ChampPerformance.com and order her book from www.StopTheDramaNow.com
Tags :behaving badly, business success, Champion Performance Development, conflict, disagreement, Doc Robyn, feelings, productive conflict, Robyn Odegaard, sport psychology, success, tantrum, using language powerfully