Words Do Matter


As we push ever harder for inclusion in our society, it’s paramount that we remember the phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” but that doesn’t mean that we should forget that ‘words have power.’ It’s one thing to promise change, and another to make the change happen – but we cannot forget about how much words can hurt, especially the way we say them, and the time and place they’re said. We all make mistakes with getting our point across. When we have made a mistake or error what rebuilds trust and belief from others is the way we accept and admit our wrongdoing.

Just this week, Lee Anderson, Conservative MP, (and until recently former deputy Chair of the party) has been suspended for refusing to apologise for what can only be described as an absurd and nasty slur. Anderson, while on GB News stated he believes Sadiq Khan is being controlled by Islamists and is ‘giving London away to his mates.’ No matter what your feelings are towards our government or the Mayor of London, and given the right to free speech, we can and must all agree there are some things you just cannot say – especially to a live public radio audience.

Many MPs of all parties have criticised the statement, with fellow Tory MP, Mark Harper advising him to ‘reflect on what he has said’ and ‘retract those comments and apologise.’ Former cabinet minister, Robert Buckland spoke for many when he condemned Anderson’s views as “repugnant.”

By refusing to apologise, we can only assume that he meant what he said and stands by it. Everyone has the right to criticise the job Sadiq Khan is doing as London Mayor without resorting to racist remarks. True colours are shown when there’s a late apology; it seems disingenuous and constructed, in this case, there’s a complete refusal, in fact, Anderson himself claims “You should never apologise if you’re right”. Such ludicrous words should now lead Anderson’s suspension to become permanent if the Tory party want to regain any sort of decent image.

Anderson’s statement and refusal to apologise is the perfect example of looking to sow seeds of division and refusing to accept any accountability for the hurt and trouble caused.

The Red Bull Principal, Christian Horner has recently come under scrutiny for alleged inappropriate behaviour with a female colleague – initially this was allowed to appear as an aggressive management style, maybe in keeping with the macho ‘win at all costs’ world of Formula 1.

When it was reported that he had allegedly tried to pay his colleague a large six figure sum to drop all charges, things didn’t look good, and at the same time reports of inappropriate WhatsApp messages of a sexual nature has pushed Horner into a very tough place. It has now been reported that Horner has been exonerated and will remain as Red Bull principal for the upcoming Grand Prix. Red Bull kept everything ‘under the radar’ and failed to be transparent about anything – but their trusted engine partner, Ford, were not hesitant to hold Red Bull accountable.

The decision was made, but the process had a lack of transparency. For everyone to feel comfortable to continue to work in any environment, leaders must ensure things are transparent – Horner’s exoneration is a prime example of taking care of the wrong people.

The young woman bravely spoke up against Horner, a man of power at Red Bull, but did not receive anywhere near the same support – why, if Horner was innocent as we are being told, was the situation not clear for others and not addressed accordingly for colleagues? Something still doesn’t feel quite right.

Ford have been open about their take on the situation and have condemned Red Bull for the lack of transparency, and a concerning lack of urgency. This action by Ford to publicly hold Red Bull accountable of Horner’s actions, might well be the new corporate ‘whistleblowing’ as they maintain that they take diversity and inclusion very seriously. Any indication of an occurrence such as this in the workplace is never to be ignored. It still takes a lot of courage to speak up. Leaders have both their own and the organisations reputation to uphold, and as he remains the face of such a large franchise, Horner still has no option but to address the allegations.

It’s vital to note that similar allegations, only 10 years ago would most likely be swept under the carpet, however, movements such as MeToo has enabled women to speak up and speak out. It takes real bravery to speak up like this young woman has done, especially to the boss – but even today, we are still seeing the powerful, in charge male taken care of more than the woman. There is still a problem in our society that desperately needs addressing.

Taking things forward, it’s understood that many leaders, and colleagues, struggle to confront a situation accordingly. We’ve seen many businesses show a lack of compassion and forgiveness when addressing issues. Calling someone, or something, out can be done without abusing power or attacking another individual. Leaders must always think about the long-term effect on others – confront and remove the problem with honesty and care.

We all need to learn how to conduct ourselves in an appropriate manner, leaders especially – if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all. If you’re unsure of how or what to say, seek the support and guidance of mentors, coaches, or leaders – always think before you speak and be more compassionate than you think you need to be.

Inclusion is how we figure out how to change this world for the better together.

Thought of the week:

If we try to be better every day, we will change the world.

Tips for becoming an A player:

  • Think big and take risks
  • Embrace those that support you
  • Try hard for the right people
  • Become a true leader by listening to those less fortunate
  • Be the reason someone smiles



2 responses to “Words Do Matter

  1. Powerful, food
    for the mind. Makes you think about your own situation and things thats been said around you and not been called out as wrong.
    Black people have been trying for decades and nk change has happened for them “Diane Abbot”
    Do you have a podcast, or a debate forum on social media where these info can ne watched.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment – we are currently planning some podcast and video content for our YouTube and to help boost some social media! Stay tuned!

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