In 1997 I was given a gag gift by some of my associates. It was a trophy with an inscription that read, “John Davidson the most politically incorrect boss.” Upon reading it, I just about fell out of my chair because I was laughing so hard. The thing is, I wasn’t someone who was the least bit careless in my word selection or actions. I just operated with a lot of candor back then, and erred on the side of being overly blunt. Over time, I have managed to smooth out most of my rough edges, but still believe in a straightforward, no nonsense style of communication. One might even call it politically incorrect. I’m fine with that, because from what I have noticed, a politically incorrect style can have a contagious way about it. Like the comedian who says what everyone is thinking, while most people are afraid to say it. Political incorrectness is just another way of saying that everyone is free to speak their minds without any sort of repercussion, alienation, or ridicule.
Political incorrectness allows an organization to unshackle the creative genius of its people, because it says that “We are secure and open enough to listen any/all ideas,” no matter the method of delivery. Where you don’t kill the messenger, but instead, embrace the idea. I like to refer to GlobalStar as the “Land of the misfit toys.” This has to do with the eclectic nature of our team members. We are constantly looking for those individuals who march to the beat of a different drum. That go overlooked by most organizations because they don’t fit the mold of compliance. Oftentimes, their confidence can be threatening to more standardized models. We champion individualism to the point that team members are able excel beyond their prior state. Because the individual becomes part of the collective genius that is the bigger cause.
When someone exudes political incorrectness, I take it as a compliment. That they feel comfortable expressing a more raw and creative side to themselves. Political incorrectness allows a different type of trust to unfold within an organization. I’m not talking about sloppy, over the top type rudeness that turns people off or comes across ignorant or callous. I’m talking about respectful openness. Things like what’s really going on in your life, my life, and the lives of our partners and clients. If something matters to those we interact with or represent, that it matters to us too. Political incorrectness breeds a closeness that can’t be experienced by adherence to standardization or assimilation. If you want to organically propagate an atmosphere of trust and embolden togetherness, then make political incorrectness a big part of how you operate as an organization. A friend used to say, “If work isn’t fun, then I don’t want anything to do with it.” Political incorrectness keeps things light and tight among team members. It makes work fun!