Should CEOs avoid bad language?

The internet has been around long enough that most tech-savvy professionals know that a seemingly innocuous comment might resurface later to haunt them. However, it can't be said enough: CEOs should avoid saying anything that might be taken out of context or used to tarnish their company, including bad language.

It's not a crime to swear, of course, but being too loose with four-letter words can come at a price in terms of the image of your business. The CEO is a figurehead for the brand, and he or she should know this when they first enter their position.

Bloomberg recently reported on an interesting aspect of vulgarities in the executive offices of companies: How often executives curse seems to fluctuate based on national financial trends. According to a graph presented by the source, this year has seen a decline in cursing overall.

Based on an analysis of the amount of swearing on conference calls throughout the past few years, this information shows us that 2010 and 2012 saw more than 50 instances of the four most common swears heard during executive calls. By contrast, 2013 saw only 30 swears, and fewer than 20 have been recorded in the year 2014 so far. Peruse the infographic for more details.

The Right Language Can Leave a Better Impression

Does this show a shift in tone for boardroom behavior? If so, it could be a much-needed one. Curses uttered by those on the c-level staff have the potential to not only upset those outside the company, but those inside it as well.

It's impossible to bring up this subject without mentioning John Legere, the head of T-Mobile, whose erratic behavior and controversial comments have secured him a place in the media. But, despite popular convention, not all publicity is good publicity: Legere's outspoken comments and use of a certain choice word during a public presentation has led to backlash from his own workers.

This incident has drawn complaints from a group of T-Mobile employees who believe that this sort of speech goes against the "salt of the earth" image that Legere might have been trying to cultivate. Instead, they wrote that this alienates them as workers, and it shows that profanity can violate the feeling of unity that a CEO tries to create.

Five concerned female employees put their issues with Legere's language in a statement publicly posted on the site Momsrising.org.

"Is this the kind of message we want to send?" the statement asks. "This kind of violent, distasteful language should not be tolerated in the workplace and certainly not coming from the mouth of the company's top executive."

Maintaining the Trust of Customers

Whether or not the improvement of the economy does lead to a change in CEO swearing, there are consequences to the way that your business's executive presents himself. A comprehensive executive recruitment service can help you detect whether or not someone has the right amount of tact.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

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