Destructive Language Decimates Trust

Leadership language choices in difficult situations are often early indicators of dysfunction. In fact, their adverse behaviors and language choices are often diagnostic of their dysfunction. Here are some examples to watch for:

  • Denial
  • Defensiveness
  • Deflection
  • Denigration
  • Disrespect
  • Demeaning
  • Discrediting
  • Distain

Not only do these behaviors, attitudes, and language choices destroy trust, they create victims, critics and angry people, families and organizations. These groups will work tirelessly to make leadership pay the price for unwanted behaviors.

These negative examples are enormously time-wasting, often trigger similar even more emotionally negative responses in return, foster contentiousness, confrontation, contempt, confusion and consternation. These behavior choices are corrosive to trust.

James E. Lukaszewski (loo-ka-SHEV-skee) is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He is a speaker, author (13 books and hundreds of articles and monographs), lecturer and ethicist (Emeritus member of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards BEPS). His book Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management had dozens of examples of corrosive behaviors and what to do about them.

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