Money Matters

Public insult, private apology

Money Matters
By Sirajuddin Aziz
Mon, 01, 20

Impudence has no limitations. Insults are forgiven but rarely forgotten. Injuries heal, those caused to the physical self. The wounds and scars of insult remain unhealed. Insulting attitude is an intimation of strength of a weak manager. Only those who are full of inadequacies and insecurities, will resort to the use of insulting language at work place or otherwise, too. Getting hit by a falling tile does not hurt perennially, but a stone thrown at us, hurts the most.

Impudence has no limitations. Insults are forgiven but rarely forgotten. Injuries heal, those caused to the physical self. The wounds and scars of insult remain unhealed. Insulting attitude is an intimation of strength of a weak manager. Only those who are full of inadequacies and insecurities, will resort to the use of insulting language at work place or otherwise, too. Getting hit by a falling tile does not hurt perennially, but a stone thrown at us, hurts the most.

You can either avenge an insult or endure it. Wisdom demands that insults should be set aside with tolerance, moderation and inexhaustible patience. But, I would rush to state it is not to be taken to mean that you allow a “bully manager” to run amok on the shop floor. Most bullies back off, due to inherent cowardice in them, at the first challenge you throw to their disapproving behavior. Failing to do so, will cause the insults to become scars that would grow as we grow. There is an Italian Proverb that goes like: “Who offends writes on sand, who is offended on marble”.

Only those indulge in hurling insults that either are not in command of their own selves or believe that it is exhibitionism of being wiser. Insult is a consequence of raging anger. As fire is kindled by bellows, so is anger by words. That’s when reason rides out of a man, who is under the influence of at least a degree of temporary insanity. Never has insult been good as a counsel.

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean” (Aldous Huxley). Many a time the remorse is not the consequence of regret over what one may have done, it is invariably the fear of what the backlash would be upon us, either by the affectee or Divine Retribution.

Insulting others does not confer the manager with any additional powers, and the most difficult part is to explain that to him. Some managers do so under the belief that to punish and thence regret is a sound act of generosity. In an essay, ‘Hearts of Gold”, Ogden Nash wrote back in 1945, “There are people who are very resourceful, at being resourceful, and who apparently feel that the best way to make friends is to do something terrible and then make amends”. Apologies can never alter the hurt insults cause. To live afresh and be free of guilt, the sense of regret must prevail. Remorse is a necessity. Many a times, remorse is a malady far more dreadful than the initial mistake of having indulged in bloodletting of a fellow human. In rage, regret is the deep slumber; it awakens only when there is either loss of office or adversity. Albeit, regret or apology is no weakness; it is a virtue.

An egotistical and a narcissist manager, you will find, are the most difficult individuals to handle and deal with. Both have, for although different reasons, absolutely no control over their negative emotions, leading to a state of perpetual anger. The objective is to induce fear into the organisational environment. The reason to lose shirt, at the drop of the hat, is invariably, an effort to mask personal inadequacies. Many a manager would find reasons to throw their weight around, by barking at colleagues; at which point in time, they appear to represent, the animal kingdom. They do so vociferously in the hope that their roaring reverberates across all floors and that the tremor of their tongue lashing in public of one or few of their reports reaches to the farthest corners of their “dominion of influence”.

When supervisors of this type regain some elements of humaneness, within them, they are likely to be filed with remorse. Bear in mind that not all of them regain empathy or human sensitivities and remain most of their lives expunged of feelings and emotions and hence are unlikely to be regretful. Also be alert to managers who insult and injure through euphemism, non-direct conversations, narration of anecdotes, and use of expletives, as part and parcel of conversation, where the audience cannot make out for whom the bell tolls! Such are wily in nature and deceitful by behavior. But those who do regret, even they now embark on enacting more damaging scenes having indulged in public display of anger, retort or verbal abuse, they seek to redress the situation; however, cowardice being their second nature and ally, they do not have the gall to publicly apologise for their misdemeanors. Instead the mauled victim, after some hours of the incident , during which time, he/she receives either words of genuine sympathy from coworkers or takes more by the insincere empathy that rubs salt deeply into the invisible gashes and deep wounds, is finally called by ‘The manager royale’ in his/her imperial cabin.

Here now begins, either a genuine regret or dramatic/theatrics performance of remorse for the disgraceful behavior exhibited on the shop floor. This personal, genuine or otherwise, apology in private; done far away from the sight of those who witnessed in full glare the earlier ‘public insult’, doesn’t in any manner go towards healing the wounds of the individual.

On the gallows, even sinners become preachers. As managers and supervisors of human resource, it is imperative to recognize that in dealing with such an important segment of the organisation, great care is exercised, in the development of a culture of mutual respect. Anything less, in a corporate environment is an assurance that the organisation over period of time will implode. The emphasis on sharpening interpersonal skills should remain a priority of the managers.

Organiaation that ensure development of culture, where the staff is encouraged, by word and practice, to write the bad things done to them on sand, and write all the good things that happened to them on a tablet of marble. In every conversation, it is best to exercise extreme discretion of whether to keep quiet or say anything. The choice must be undertaken, between good behavior and unbecoming stance. Never indulge in MBR (management by ridicule).


The writer is a freelance contributor