By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to become more aware of your personal instinctive behavior. Reading time: 3:42
“I’m from the South.
Flirting is part
of my heritage.”
–Blanche, The Golden Girls
Blanche reminds us that our heritage casts a large shadow no matter what role you are playing: lover or leader.
Your heritage shapes your instinctive behavior. And sometimes, a leader can get too comfortable in his or her own skin, and too loose in his or her own tongue.
S/he can inadvertently say something –instinctively, something that rolls off the tongue naturally and innocently– even though it could be offensive to others no matter how customary and non threatening it is to you.
Even Presidents of the United States of America are not immune to the foot-in-mouth disease even if they are unaware how they contracted it and how they are propagating it.
Indeed, our assimilated environment influences the way we talk (accent) and even fosters and nurtures the blind spots we develop in listening and interacting naturally to other like-minded people over time in the same geographic area.
Consider President Harry S Truman. He was born and raised in the South 20 years after the Civil War. Even as president he would privately and inadvertently refer to “niggers,” according to historian David McCullough on page 588 of his biography on Truman.
“On racial matters, Truman had not entirely outgrown his background. Old biases, old habits of speech continued surfacing off-stage as some of his aides and Secret Service agents would later attest. Privately, he could still speak of ‘niggers’ as if that were the way one naturally referred to blacks,” McCullough observed. Continue reading