You Gonna Be Called Names

By | July 31, 2021

[July 31, 2021]  No matter who you are, what you do, where you go, you will be called names as a way to make you appear less intelligent, less handsome, or less popular.  Frankly, if you care, you will never be a great leader.  Letting your emotions dominate your thinking inevitably hinders your actions and decision-making abilities.  But, that is not all.

Sure, leaders with thick skins fair better than others. We’re all familiar with this tidbit of information, and I’m sure we generally ignore name-calling.  But, not all those who use this sophomoric tactic are without considerable smarts.  Therefore, ignoring name-calling is sometimes a bad idea.

Recall the primary during the Republican Party’s debates.  Candidate Donald Trump used name-calling as a sly yet straightforward way of effectively labeling his opponents as lazy, inept, and privileged.  Surprisingly, it worked.  The negative labels stuck and played a part in the ultimate defeat of Trump’s opponents.  Like Candidate Trump’s name-calling, it can be an effective way to attack one’s opponents.

To be called names is a form of betrayal, the worst of all human “sins.”  Words do mean something, and despite our childhood guidance that “names will never harm me,” name-calling can do harm in the form of destroying trust.

So, what’s a leader to do?  You are gonna be called names; it comes with the territory.  A good leader is aware of his environment, the dynamics of his organization and mission complexity. What we don’t do, or at least shouldn’t do, is ignore something that might be brushed off without a thought.  Running away from the problem is also not an adequate long-term strategy.

Solutions can be found anywhere.  I have found that the best thing is to confront that person directly, politely.  Use self-effacing humor to turn the situation around.  I don’t recommend name-calling as a response, but use their words as a testament to your good nature and trustworthiness.

Remember the reaction of Trump’s opponents during the Republican debates?  They bristled at the names they were called, exposing their emotional side.  Their anger was apparent, and we all saw that it made them less of a leader.  Instead of showing we are like a child being called a name, act like an adult.  Smile, say little, but be there and do not run away.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “You Gonna Be Called Names

  1. Janna Faulkner

    While women bear the biggest brunt of the insult game, men have been called their fair share too, such as sissy, pervert, douchebag, and more.

  2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Let’s face it. There are no lack of words and phrases to call out the fact we’re not perfect.

  3. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Children’s ways of doing “business” has become adult ways of doing “business.”

  4. Silly Man

    As the Institute for Propaganda Analysis explains: “Bad names have played a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in our own individual development. They have ruined reputations, stirred men and women to outstanding accomplishments, sent others to prison cells, and made men mad enough to enter battle and slaughter their fellow men. They have been and are applied to other people, groups, gangs, tribes, colleges, political parties, neighborhoods, states, sections of the country, nations, and races.”

  5. Eric Coda

    This is typical of today’s politicians and nuts that are running our cities and towns. If they disagree with you, just call you racist, homophobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, etc. And, guess what? It also works. People get “cancelled” and fired from their jobs, lose friends, and have their social media accounts deactivated. Sounds like Communism to me.

    1. Harold M. Smith II

      I’m not too surprised. But yes this cancelling of people is a fascist way of getting your way. Antifa and BLM are fascist, neo-Marxist organizations. Joe BIden loves them. Wonder why I didn’t vote the old man? He is dumb.

    2. Plato

      Good point, Eric. And, yes, name calling might be a child’s tactic but adults use it as well. Learn how to deal with it.

      1. JT Patterson

        The name-calling technique links a person, or idea, to a negative symbol. The propagandist who uses this technique hopes that the audience will reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence.

  6. Gil Johnson

    Good article on name calling and what to do about it.


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