Vanilla and Political Correctness at a Crossroad

A few months ago I wrote about the blandness of corporate language couching negatives in positive language. Vanilla is not an emotion and it does not create a satisfied workforce. The results are often an increase in passive aggression.

Did any of you see the movie Vanilla Sky? What looked normal on the surface was confusing and tortuous under the surface. I think that the confusion stayed with me for a long time. Sometimes political correctness leads to the same feelings of confusion about what should be and what is being said. How do we get to truth without being offensive? Is the message so bland that it is totally unclear?

My recent writing has been about creating an environment of positive emotions like joy and love over having a culture of negative emotions like fear and anger. I even alluded to digging deep to find some positive emotion when the opposite emotions are raring to be revealed.

Successful positive cultures can be achieved with an understanding of the balance that can be attained and being clear at the same time.

There are a couple of things to be aware of when trying to create a positive emotional culture in your organization:

  • Demanding only positive emotions may mask real issues from being brought to the leaders.
  • Creating a culture of trust and compassion also allows honest discussion of things that are wrong or not working.
  • A culture of compassion is not blind to the realities of the marketplace or economy.
  • Truth is spoken allowing people to maintain their dignity. For example, when someone is fired, seeing the company allow the individual to say goodbyes, clear their desk without an officer of the company escorting them off the premises goes a long way to reinforce the values of compassion held in a corporation.
  • The executive leadership, middle management and frontline managers are all responsible for modeling the corporate emotional culture. This cannot become a box checked off in the corporate values training. It has to be lived and seen by every employee every day.
  • Honest communication is a pivotal tool for the success of creating an honestly compassionate environment. That means that conflict isn’t hidden, people need to feel comfortable enough to bring the conflict to their managers, knowing that a solution will be sought without a reprimand about damaging the atmosphere of positivity.

Bringing out the truth without the ugly is where I can help. Contact me and we can get started!

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