This evening, I was invited to take part in an on-air interview with Mark Forrest on BBC Local Radio on the topic of swearing in business.
A recent survey by the National Campaign for Courtesy showed swearing at third place in the list of people’s concerns. We certainly get asked by the media to give lots of interviews on this topic so there is real concern about it, even if the majority don’t speak up.
My own view is that swearing is generally not acceptable at work or in business. Language is a powerful tool and can be used to intimidate or bully and I think swearing can be part of this. What if a close-knit team seem happy to swear among themselves when no one can hear? Well, it’s unlikely that rules or laws will stop swearing entirely and I think it is up to the leaders of an organisation to set the tone of its culture. After all, if a boss bullies workers, it gives a signal that anything goes. It’s a complex topic, especially as some people will be quite comfortable with swearing, while others will not.
What do you think? We want to hear you views.
Robert Zarywacz, courtesy consultant