‘When things turn ugly’ is an English expression that describes human behaviour changing from debate to confrontation and even violence. It is a powerful and precise phrase because, it’s not difficult to detect when it happens.

I have chosen this as my theme this week because, no matter how we look at the world around us, especially in the political arena, things are beginning to turn ugly. Be it in the UK with politicians becoming ever more discourteous and aggressive towards each other, or by the lack of tolerance being promoted by people in high places.  I believe it can only be a matter of time before we see this behaviour spill over into the workplace and we need to be ready for it. After all, if it is ok for presidents of nations to behave badly, then why not for CEO’s and company management teams or shift supervisors or team leads?

I am getting worried, maybe I am getting old and narrow minded, or maybe I am looking back to a time that never existed.  But I feel, in my bones, that we are headed in the wrong direction.  Recently there was a debate on the BBC World service, with people dialing in from all over the world. The topic was freedom of speech.  It was scary to hear some people say that ‘freedom is being allowed to publish whatever one thinks’, regardless of the consequences and the hurt it may entail, and, regardless of if it’s true or not!

We have all witnessed how quickly moods can swing from tolerance to intolerance, I am beginning to think that we might need to start reviewing our code of conduct guidelines and processes for situations where the status quo is put under pressure.

However, I don’t want to be all negative, heated debates are sometimes needed, if we are seriously going to challenge things that need to be changed. And in these debates both good and bad initiatives can be born. Let’s just hope it the good side that wins!

Have a good week

Harley