Are insults a winning strategy?

chess.jpgYou might say, really, you have to ask! With the Trump presidency we may be entering a golden age of insult and name-calling and because of that it got me thinking about this question.

How many use insults when raising their kids? How many use insults when leading a small group at church? How many use regular insults toward people that don’t buy from you? Ever used insults to build a staff at work and after you higher them, call them names, insult them and use scare tactics to win them over? I should be able to stop here because the answer is obvious.

But I continue. Let’s take, as examples, couples starting off in marriage. Most couples exhaust every attempt to get what they need from each other before they resort to hostile exchanges. They began as devoted friends and lovers, going out of their ways to be considerate. Over time they might lose that capacity to put each other first. They once lived for each other’s hearts, now they have become verbal enemies, struggling to survive emotionally at the expense of the other.

Couples digressing in their relationships tend to use sarcasm, threats, tears, and intimidation. They preach, use threats of exile, threats of abandonment, and even invalidate each other. They lash out on social media, and even tweet stupidity. Now imagine if that person is someone you work with regularly on the behalf of your companies mission! It simply wouldn’t work.

So why would someone think insults or intimidation is a good winning strategy in building  a solid team around them? Let’s be clear, there is not one professional that would ever give advice to use insults in any form to build relationships. It is not found anywhere as a resolving conflict strategy and there is only one selling tactic it is used, hard-bargaining.

Some say with Mr. Trump that he embraces a hard-bargaining tactic and uses it to “sell” his ideas. This tactic is viewed as a win-lose only strategy. The good-cop bad-cop, bluffing, puffing, lying, belittling others, take-it-or-leave-it strategy are all ingredients in this tactic, but easily deteriorates into impasse, distrust, or a deal that’s supbar for everyone involved. It builds enemies, fake friendships that only look to use you to get what they want then sell you out down the road. There are simply better ways of meeting your goals, and building trust with people.

However you view the use of insults as a strategy, we might just hope that the 45th president becomes a little more civil. There is something powerful about civility; politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

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