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Leaders Ought Not to Be Hateful

Football Over the weekend two fierce rivals met in football. Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah have met on the football field since 1922 to compete and claim victory. It is a spectacular rivalry that consumes the state of Utah the week previous to the game regardless of either team’s record.

On Saturday these two teams met in what turned out to be a storybook overtime ending – 26-23 BYU victory. But the post game remarks by star quarterback Max Hall were anything but storybook. At the end of the game in response to the question whether he felt he had redeemed himself after last years lost in which he threw five interceptions Hall is quoted as saying “"A little bit, yeah. I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them.”

“I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything. So, it feels good to send those guys home. They didn't deserve it. It was our time and it was our time to win. We deserved it. We played as hard as we could tonight, and it felt really good to send them home and to get them out of here, so it is a game I'll always remember."

There is a little more to this as Hall explained “"I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year, and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them, and they deserve to lose."

Hate is a strong word, especially from a leader. Leaders must be in control of their emotions. Now, let me make it clear, I am a BYU fan (though I cheered as hard as I have ever cheered for Utah’s win last year against No. 4 Alabama in the sugar bowl). But Hall was anything but a leader after the game Saturday night. Though he led his team to victory after throwing the winning touchdown pass, unfortunately his leadership stopped there. He let down the fans, his teammates and the entire university with his comments.

Hall later apologized. Certainly he can be forgiven, but he will lose respect in the eyes of many. It is unfortunate when leaders in any organization express their disdain and hate towards anyone, including competitors. Hate never motivated anything but more hate. When people hate, they lack common sense and creativity because anger consumes them. Leaders must be careful in what they say, even in the heat of the moment. Here are four “refrains” I would suggest for any leader.

  1. Refrain from gossip, it is a poison and will result in lack of trust. See one of my recent posts on gossip at work by clicking here.

  2. Refrain from talking negative about co-workers and/or their reports or your reports. You will quickly lose respect in the eyes of those that follow you and be perceived as a non-caring leader.

  3. Refrain from talking negative about your manager or anyone above your manager. Doing so will clearly demonstrate that you don’t care about the organization as a whole and will result in a lack of trust and respect. If you have an issue with how things are being done, then express it to those who need to hear it and can do something about it.

  4. Refrain from talking negative about the competition, give them the kudos they deserve and find creative ways to be better, but never give into the temptation of drumming up negative emotions through negative talk. Contrary to some popular opinions, it does not boost team morale; it creates unfocused and uncreative energy.

How have you ever been affected by negative talk? Do you have any examples and/or stories?

Mike Rogers

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