|Being Politically-Correct Corrupts Leadership Skills|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
Political Correctness was designed so your actions or words would not anger anyone. General Colin Powell once stated that leadership involves “responsibility”. This could very well be the basis for the recent demise in the area of leadership as our society's moral compass, our daily values and our very own faith in what is right and what is wrong has been destroyed by political correctness and other personality traits or weaknesses. Leadership is not a position of authority or assignment. Leadership is not something that can be empowered or delegated to an individual. Leadership is about individuality that stands above the rest and illustrates qualities of character a person is competent and skillful to lead others and has the intestinal fortitude to make decisions whether right or wrong, decisions designed to improve the wellness of many and not just a few.
What exactly does it mean to be a politically correct person? Looking at the word which Wikipedia dictionary defines "political correctness as "Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent." When you engage in PC you stand to compromise your effectiveness and your honor. You may become a person of marginalized proportion in stature or position, as you learn how to avoid answering tough questions with honest answers but vague in content. Your behavior is altered to the point where you focusing on how to avoid confrontations rather than solutions. You do this as an attempt to blend in your surroundings to become "one of them" and be socially acceptable to the crowd. Your leadership skills will suffer as you learn to procrastinate more causing your performance, perhaps once stellar, begins to slack off and become lethargic to the environment. Political correctness shuts down creativity and creates conflict among those who look to you as a leader and to give them the tools to be among the brightest of minds that want to contribute but feel stifled because of unreasonable restrictions imposed for political will or purposes.
Being PC closes the door to your open door policy. You will quickly notice how the number of people that used to come to you for advice no longer enters your office as before. The reasons may vary but it could be because of your choice to be PC in all matters. They have lost their confidence in your decision making or your ability to help them with matters important to them. On the other side of this coin PC sends a silent message that could very well mean that asking for help or assistance in matters is ridiculous or unwarranted. Inside the corporate world, cultures are unforgiving and being PC is another way of dealing with dealing with people but not really managing the workforce effectively. Leaders must recognize the need for continued analysis and development of plans that benefit the project or challenge at hand. There should be no such thing as an exclusive task or sole performer within an organization making them feel elite. The responsibility to perform should be shared and is enhanced by the leadership qualities of the group or workforce. Being PC reduces these leadership qualities to shrink creativity, involvement, risks and intimacy of the project. Indirectly this results in poor promulgation of workplace policies and direction. It also severely limits the productivity or performance of the group as it does not extent their terms of performing, thinking, resolving or learning new things creating an incestuous environment that gains nothing for future or personal growth.
Complacency and non-conformity are vices within the workplace. It develops into apathy and attitudes of "it's not my job" and "I can't do it" motus operandi that defeat productivity and performance. Basically, it reduces the overall effectiveness by avoiding controversy and discovery of new ideas and facts regarding the organization's needs. It is a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude that can result in a culture that is not proactive and often resorts to a blame technique to find other people guilty of misconduct or wrongdoings. Lastly, a PC person does not empower or delegate this shift of power or financial responsibility to those who conduct the actual field work but are quick to blame any shortcomings of their subordinates when failures are indicated in the process.
Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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