Is there ever a reason to be rude?

How we behave in public shows people who we are deep inside.

It’s been a long time since I witnessed a public display of rudeness. The incident happened during a training program of a leadership team. The incoming President of an organization was in a breakout room discussing her proposed strategy to grow her chapter. She was sharing her Vision, Mission, and plans for 2022.

As Ms. President was sharing her plans, one of the chapter founders started shooting holes on Ms. Presidents’ plans. She did it in such a rude manner that the entire room was silent. She knew she was overstepping her role as a guest. She even acknowledged that she was overstepping. Ms. Founder has no leadership role. However, she was still invited by Ms. President as a sign of respect.

As I was about to speak, the time was over and we were sent back to the main room.

Disappointed with such terrible leadership behavior, I composed a message and posted it on the Leadership chat group. I expressed what I saw as the truth.

Hi, Let me share my two cents being relatively new in this organization. I wanted to share this at the workshop but did not have the chance. One essential element for our success is we set aside agendas and personalities. I can see it as a consultant.

We will never be able to move forward and succeed if we are not aligned. May we set aside agendas and be kind to one another. If we have differences, we can share them in private.

We build up each other. Only then can we succeed together as one. Apologies if I come as too vocal. If I can see it, others may see it and turn them off from renewing or joining our organization. Apologies if I offend anyone. For one, it turns me off—just my two cents. Let’s not tolerate rudeness. All the best everyone.

I have had my share of public displays of rudeness by leaders. Oftentimes, it’s justified for the good of everyone. A few times the preceding message was that these leaders only want to set up their people for success.

There is no place for rudeness in any organization. There is no justification for slamming someone in public. True leaders are kind. Kindness is a result of humility. Rudeness is the offspring of pride and arrogance.

Leaders, regardless of whether we are under pressure or not, let us not tolerate rudeness. It’s a barrier to physiological safety. Kindness goes a long way in building a successful organization. Even in providing private feedback, kind candor is better than rude criticism.

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