Posts Tagged verbal

Is Your Workplace Verbally Toxic?

Is your workplace verbally toxic? Are you bullied at work? You are not alone. Help is available. Today’s workplace is more verbally toxic than ever before. The daily news is filled with stories of adult bullying. To combat today’s verbally toxic workplace, interpersonal and organizational communications expert, Dr. Mitch Carnell, has released the second edition of, Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter at Work. The book greatly expands the first edition.

“The ruckus nature of the recent presidential campaign gives rise to a need to combat the effects of bullying tactics,” Carnell said. “Some people feel that they now have a license to verbally abuse others.”

The small book gives directions on how to give and receive compliments. It lays down a brain map for those not accustomed to giving or getting compliments. There are examples that are ready to use and there are concrete suggestions for creating your own.

Carnell says that there is no work environment that cannot profit from being a more accepting, healthier place to work. On the other hand, compliments must be honest and timely.

Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter at Work is available from the author at 2444 Birkenhead Dr. Charleston, SC 29414 for $6.00 each plus postage . It will also be available on line at or www.Barnes&

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Do Your Words Sustain Others or Tear Them Down? – Guy Sayles

Do Your Words Sustain Others or Tear Them Down? | Guy Sayles, Communication, Speech, Civility, Presidential Election 

Words like Bill Kovach’s, which affirmed Rick Bragg’s gifts and bolstered his confidence, are all too rare these days, Sayles says. (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

When writer Rick Bragg was young and struggling to find his way in journalism, he won a prestigious fellowship to Harvard University.

While there, he felt out of place. He hadn’t finished college, and he was in classes with people who were pursuing graduate degrees.

He was surrounded by urbane Easterners; he saw himself, and was sure others saw him, as a solitary redneck from Alabama.

Legendary newspaperman Bill Kovach befriended Rick, encouraged him and told him that he was gifted.

Bragg told Kovach about a newspaper editor who once sneeringly asked him who taught him how to write. Bragg hadn’t known what to say.

Kovach told him, “The next time somebody asks you that, you tell ’em that it was God.”

Words like Kovach’s, which affirmed Bragg’s gifts and bolstered his confidence, are all too rare these days.

There are more words in the communications-marketplace now than at any time in history: 24/7 television news; streams of information from blogs and newsfeeds; floods of email, tweets, Facebook posts and text messages; stacks of newspapers and magazines; and books of every kind: e-books, audio books, books serialized on the web; and still (thank goodness!) traditional books.

If words were merely commodities, and we valued them on the basis of supply and demand, they would sell at rock-bottom prices these days. Too few of those words flow from compassion.

Historians of American presidential campaigns caution me not to assume that there have never been debates (mud-wrestling matches) between candidates that are as coarse and mean-spirited as the ones we are hearing between Trump and everyone else.

Doubtless, those historians are right. I remember Lee Atwater, after all. If you aren’t aware of Atwater, it’s enough to know that he was a brilliant and cynical political strategist who built lower roads when the existing low ones weren’t low enough.

With the warnings of historians in mind, surely it’s still the case that the bruising personal attacks of this campaign rank among the worst examples of verbal violence. Tearing down, wearing down and, finally, taking down are the goals.

Apparently, many Americans are so angry at myriad things that the politicians’ heated rhetoric has become a means to vent their own simmering frustrations.

Despite the current climate of extreme harshness, I think we hunger for words that, like Kovach’s to Bragg, inspire hope, hearten the discouraged and empower the tentative.

An ancient Hebrew prophet whom we know as Isaiah describes a teacher who “knows how to sustain the weary with a word” (Isaiah 50:9).

Paul, whose own words could sometimes scald those with whom he disagreed, nonetheless wisely urged people to say “only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29-30).

We need to hear sustaining, life-building and grace-giving words.

Perhaps, even more, we need to speak them and, thereby, contribute to a growing chorus and resounding echo of words tuned by love.

Guy Sayles is a consultant with the Center for Healthy Churches, an assistant professor of religion at Mars Hill University, an adjunct professor at Gardner-Webb Divinity School and a board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics. A version of this article first appeared on his website, From the Intersection, and is used with permission.

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Is Your Workplace Toxic? How You Can Solve It.

Is Your Workplace Toxic? How You Can Solve It

Mitch Carnell
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2011 6:57 am

Is Your Workplace Toxic? How You Can Solve It | Mitch Carnell, Workplace, Civility

Hostility, sarcasm and rudeness poison the atmosphere and make it toxic for everyone, Carnell writes.

By all reports, the workplace is at its most toxic level. Bullying, disrespect and hostility are rampant.

The protracted economic meltdown has only served to make matters worse. The result is an unhealthy environment that is costing both employers and employees.

Workers are not as efficient or effective. They accomplish less in the same amount of time. They waste more raw materials. They make more mistakes.

They miss more days at work. There are more sick calls and more grievances. Burnout experienced by employees includes nearly half of the workforce, according to employers.

All of these factors combine to cost the employer more. It is an unhealthy situation for all concerned.

Many employers make the situation worse with threats both implied and overt. Many managers have taken the attitude that you can quit because I can replace you before you make it out the door.

Such practices are extremely expensive and not productive. Most jobs require more than a warm body. Unfortunately, the situation does not end with the close of work.

The toxic atmosphere travels home with workers and infects even more people and spreads to other workplaces. It invades social and community life. It goes viral on the Internet and goes to school.

It goes to houses of worship and to the playground. It flourishes at sporting events and on the highways. No place is exempt from the verbal onslaught.

The situation can and must be modified and reversed. We can’t wait for the economy to recover to take action. The recovery is slow and uneven. The need for change is urgent. The truth is that this is a do-it-yourself project.

Resolve to make the situation better. It starts with you. You do not need to wait for someone in authority to do it.

Opt out of the blame game. Take responsibility to become an army of one to change things.

Find ways to boost your employees, co-workers or supervisors. Yes, supervisors need encouragement and you might be astounded at the difference it could make.

Say something nice, uplifting or encouraging to those around you. It may be hard at first, but you will find something that is right. It is important that your comment is both honest and sincere.

If saying something nice is asking too much, then resolve not to add to the toxicity. Do not say anything mean or demoralizing. Write a note and put it where you can see it easily to remind yourself.

Make your work area a safe zone. Encourage and enlist others to join you. You are more powerful than you know. You have more influence than you might think. Take charge of the environments where you work and live.

It is essential that you commit your resolve to writing; otherwise, it becomes simply wishful thinking.

For the best chance of success enlist a friend that you trust. Empower that person to give you a signal when you slip into negative mode. The buddy system works well in so many situations because two are stronger than one.

Envision a different workplace. Envision a negative free workplace. If we can create a smoke-free environment, we can create a verbally safe workplace.

Just as those who do not smoke can be damaged by a smoke-filled environment, innocent bystanders can be damaged by a verbally hostile environment.

Hostility, sarcasm and rudeness poison the atmosphere and make it toxic for everyone. It is corrosive.

Sign a pledge to foster and create a less toxic workplace: “For the next 30 days I will say something nice, uplifting or encouraging to at least one person every day. The comment will be honest and sincere. I understand that comments that involve physical appearance are off limits. I will keep a record for each day and note whether I kept the pledge and of any specific reactions directly related to the exercise.”

As mentioned earlier, if this is too great a hurdle at first, then sign on for the noncontributing campaign: “I pledge that during the next 30 days I will refrain from saying anything ugly, demeaning or derogatory to anyone in my workplace. If I need to offer correction, I will do it in a respectful manner. I will keep a record for each day and note whether I kept the pledge and any reactions directly related to the exercise.”

Hostile work environments have a long history. The first incident is recorded in Genesis 3:12. “The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and I ate.'”

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