Read this before you decide to talk down on your boss

Trash-talking is considered as an art in sports. Sports players use trash-talking for a number of reasons; Instilling fear and frustrations to opponents, baiting an opponent into making a mistake during a game, or for pure bragging rights.

The latter use of trash-talking is in the top shelf category, specially used by formidable competitors who literally put their mouth where their money is by winning even after roasting their opponents to ashes.

Some sports personalities do it coz they are good at it, others do for the sake of it, call it group dynamics or peer-pressure, and others just let their game do the talking for them.

I, as a sports enthusiast know of very few sports players who never trash-talk but their game speak louder. Currently, my list is small but it’s steadily growing. Apart from the LA Clippers Small Forward/Shooting Guard Kahwi Leonard, Philadelphia Eagle’s QB Kirk Cousins just recently secured himself the second place in my list of players who got game but don’t let their mouths take the reins of their brains.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker Zach Brown was cut as a result of failing to back-up his trash-talking of the Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins after calling him “the weakest part of the Vikings’ offense”, sic. Cousins in retrospect let his play do the talking, throwing four touchdowns against one interception to secure a 38-20 loss against Eagles.

Unless you are Mohammed Ali who was the greatest heavyweight boxer the world over and also a heavyweight trash-talker who intimidated, angered and made fun of his opponents before, during and after the game by trash-talking but still kept his “word” during a match, it would be really risky for a player to talk smack to an opponent and end up losing then getting benched for having a big mouth without backing it up like Zach Brown in this case.

Although trash-talking was made famous by sports players, it has however evolved now, skipping the fence of sports arenas and notoriously spilling over to the workplace too.

A research conducted by Wharton School visiting Scholar Jeremy Yip and Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer proves that trash-talking at work place promotes rivalry, performance and even unethical behavior. Dependent on the corporate setup, trash-talking could prove to be good or bad for a company. For a competitive corporate structure, trash-talking will motivate the rivals to outwork and outperform the trash-talker. Therefore, fostering healthy competition between workers. On the downside, such competitiveness might lead to rivals resorting to using unethical means to ensure they win against their competition who talks smack.

In creative setups, trash-talking has proved to be detrimental to the development or success of the task as it reduces creative performance. For cooperative structures or tasks that demand input of different colleagues, trash-talking usually ends up bringing the receiver down, reducing their performance and input into the group tasks and fostering feelings of rivalry between employees. This will either lead them to quitting or using unethical ways to ensure a win. Either way, it is a loss to the firm in the long run.

Apart from trash-talking fellow colleagues, we have those with the cojones big enough to trash talk their bosses or formers bosses. Unless your retirement fund is making profits for you on a daily basis, trash-talking your boss leads to instant karma actions such as getting fired immediately and possibly getting blacklisted from being employed. Your boss is friends with other bosses and they talk. You do not want to be the cause of discussion especially concerning your future working relations. Even if your former boss and current boss are arch enemies, it will reflect poorly about your company exits if all you will do in your new company is trash-talk your former boss. Words spread, and concerns about what you will say to your next colleagues will raise if your current boss hears about you trash-talking your former boss. Avoid such red flags and keep them in your breaches next time you are tempted to play The Dozens with your former employer’s name.

Written by Lucky Lordvick Oduor

Lucky Lordvick Oduor is a creative living in Nairobi, Kenya, working as an Actor, Voice Artist, Creative Writer, Commercial Model and Presenter. He is experienced in Business Development, Sales and Marketing Advertising & Copywriting, and a part-time Value Addition Consultant.