Posts Tagged bullying

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&

Tags: , , ,

Norris Burkes: Trash Talk Goes to the Trash Can

Feb. 8, 2014   |  

Like many of you, I maintain a list of favorite things. For instance, my hamburger of choice is the mushroom burger. My preferred sport is football, and San Francisco is my most beloved city. Nothing on my list is too surprising except for a favorite trash can.

To understand why a wastepaper basket should inspire a spiritual column, you should understand that this particular bin sits in the office where I receive mail from my readers.

No, I don’t normally discard reader mail — far from it. Most of it comes from people sharing their personal stories or prayer requests; some of it from critical thinkers who ask that I reconsider my views.

This is the mail I share with my most critical reader, Mrs. Burkes. She will often explain how some of my readers were right and I was completely stupid. She loves me like that.

However, some missives are better suited for the blue recycle box. These letters begin with a bullying barrage of banalities and end with a litany of judgmental name-calling. As quickly as I recognize their hateful tone, I pitch them into the recycle box where I hope to see them reincarnated as daffodil stationery.

I’m not telling you this as a way of payback toward those nasty letter writers; I take them at their word that they no longer read the column.

I tell you this because, like me, you’ve known the sting of criticism from a passing acquaintance or rude co-worker who hasn’t bothered to know the real you. But unlike written criticism, verbal criticism that can’t be shredded.

How can you deal with such criticism? Allow me to share three strategies.

• Pray: Pray for two things. First, pray forgiveness for the critical person. Second, ask for wisdom to see and confess your part in the criticism. We do this because Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” It’s not what the prayer will do for the critical person; it’s what it’ll do for you. Prayer will also help you with the second strategy.

• Prioritize: Just as I sort the letters, you must sort criticism. Give the critique strong consideration only if it comes from someone who cares about the outcome of your life. In such a case, you must examine it for truth. There’s an old saying, “If one person calls you a donkey, ignore it. If three people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.” If the criticism comes from someone who wishes you harm, employ the next strategy.

• Purge: When it comes to the toxicity of negative criticism, look for the metaphorical equivalent to the trash can. Many of us purge through physical activity, such as gardening or hiking. Others use therapy pets.

I recommend purging with ritual or liturgy. For instance, take a moment to write the criticism onto paper. Fold it so no one can read it. Then, ask a family member, friend, or pastor to join you alongside a shredder. Ask your friend to pray that you’ll find the ability to let the hurtful words go. After saying, “amen,” run the paper through the shredder.

Tags: ,

Celebrate Say Something Nice Sunday – June 2, 2013


Sunday, June 2, 2013, will be different from all the Sundays that preceded it.  It will be a friendlier, more cheerful and more affirming day. Gone will be the rancor and demeaning verbiage. Across the nation churches will celebrate the Seventh Annual Say Something Nice Sunday. As bullying has escalated in all walks of life including some churches, the imperative to be more Christ-like in our speech takes on even greater significance.

The congregation of First Baptist Church Charleston, the oldest Baptist Congregation in the South, passed a resolution calling for at least one day when Christians would not say anything derogatory toward any other Christian or Christian body, but instead would say only nice things. The Charleston Baptist Association passed the same resolution. The Charleston Atlantic Presbytery joined as did CBF of South Carolina. The first Say Something Nice Sunday was celebrated by churches in Charleston County and a scattering of churches throughout the state. The second year more churches joined across the nation. In 2009 the Catholic Diocese of Charleston joined.

In 2007 the South Carolina Baptist Convention passed a resolution,”Unity in the Body” which supports the idea. The movement received support from Dr. Frank Page, then president of the SBC, and Jim Austin, the SC Baptist executive. In 2011, the Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan endorsed the program. Archbishop Dolan is now Cardinal Dolan. Furman University and Spartanburg Methodist College support the celebration. Dr. Molly Marshall, president of Central Baptist Seminary, Dr. Timothy George, president of Samford Divinity School and Dr. Loren Mead, retired Episcopal priest and founder of the Alban Institute, volunteered support.

The Rev. Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, is enthusiastic in his support of the movement. “Our words express what is in our hearts,” he states. The Rev. Andrew Shull, pastor of FBC Woodruff, SC did a week long emphasis.

Every church and religious group are invited to participate. There are no fees and nothing to buy. Resource materials are on the First Baptist Church web page at Click on messages/resources at the top of the page and then click on the title under Say Something Nice Sunday.  Churches are encouraged to develop other materials and to share them by E-mailing them to

Tags: , , ,

We Teach Children That Incivility Is Rewarded

Mitch Carnell
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:00 am

We Teach Children That Incivility is Rewarded | Mitch Carnell, Bullying, Incivility, Abuse, Behavior

Our airwaves are filled with innuendo and disrespect. Recall Rush Limbaugh’s rant about the young female law student …. Bill Maher is … just as disgusting, Carnell says. (Photo credits: Nicolas Shayko, left, Angela George)

Our country and much of the world has expressed shock and horror at the verbal and physical treatment meted out to a 68-year-old grandmother and bus monitor in Greece, New York.

Karen Klein tried to maintain her composure while her tormentors continued their assault.

Many adults have reacted by sending her money as if a few dollars can erase the hurt that these foul-mouthed children inflicted. Their parents have expressed surprise.

We are not surprised. It is the behavior we encourage and reward.

Remember Congressman Joe Wilson whose single claim to fame is that he called the president of the United States a liar during his State of the Union address?

Most listeners had never heard of Wilson before that incident, but they rewarded him with thousands of dollars for his re-election campaign. He was re-elected.

His party made excuses for him. He was offered speaking engagements across the country simply because he had shown extraordinary poor judgment and incivility.

Our airwaves are filled with innuendo and disrespect. Recall Rush Limbaugh’s rant about the young female law student, Sandra Fluke, who testified before a congressional committee.

Glenn Beck fills the airwaves and his personal appearances with half-truths and derogatory language. His audiences encourage him to be even more derogatory. He rakes in millions of dollars as his hate caravan rolls across the country.

Bill Maher is more vulgar than liberal, but he is just as disgusting.

During my years as a practicing speech language pathologist, a child whose speech was barely understandable would color the air purple with his limited vocabulary.

The parent would look at me and mumble, “I don’t know where he heard that kind of language.”

Maybe the parent didn’t know, but I knew. Speech is learned. Behavior is caused.

Two North Carolina pastors have waded into the language swamp. One wants to put all the gays and lesbians in an outdoor pen and watch them die.

The other is urging the parents of young boys to break their sons’ wrists if they show any signs of being effeminate.

There is one glimmer of hope. The Wisconsin Council of Churches has called for A Season of Civility.

They reason that the recent recall election has so polarized the state that desperate measures are required.

Thirty-five members of the clergy representing different religious groups have asked their fellow clergy to join them in preaching and teaching about civility.

The incident on the bus in New York has amply demonstrated that Wisconsin is not alone in its need to rekindle an atmosphere of civility. Churches cannot do the job alone. They require our help.

Parents can monitor the TV programs and websites their children frequent. All electronic devices have off switches. They can complain to advertisers and refuse to purchase the advertisers’ products.

Schools can teach respect for authority and common decency. They can require compliance at least during school hours. These activities can and will have some effect.

Absolutely nothing will be as effective as grown-ups modeling the behavior we want. Seeing adults who are consistent in their respectful treatment of others will plant the message in a way nothing else can.

Resolve to see the best in everybody and everything and to reflect that in your speech.

Realize that you will be ridiculed for such behavior, but be firm in your resolve.

We are all responsible for the atmosphere around us. This is a problem that no amount of money can solve. The only solution that stands a chance is personal resolve and involvement.

Tags: , , ,