The Dangers of Political Correctness
Last Saturday, I had a very interesting experience. I was coaching my daughter’s kindergarten soccer team and I had the great pleasure of a senior referee sitting on the sidelines in addition to the league commissioner in the stands and even taking pictures of my every move. Obviously, I was taken aback at the attention I was getting. All of this stemmed from an incident the previous weekend. It turns out the parents on the other team were very unhappy with my coaching style. I believe that kids have to hear your voice so I am a bit loud in a constructive fashion. I try to encourage and help and if there is something negative to say, I try to follow up with something positive. Well, the other team did not appreciate this style. Their parents were actually shouting at me from the sidelines in addition to one gentlemen seeming to puff out his chest to confront me; for what reason, I have no idea. Our parents seem to appreciate my coaching style and are very supportive and told the commissioner so at the game. So, who is right? Who is wrong? Or have we become so politically correct and scared to offend anyone that we cannot raise our voice at all or state our opinion publicly?
Organizations are always concerned about political correctness and rightfully so. On the other hand, I have noticed a significant shift to “over-political correctness”. This is when growth is significantly limited because employees are scared to state their opinion or put themselves out on a limb. I believe we should be concerned about both sides of this coin and we should learn to balance each. In many regards, we have gone from free speech to free speech…..BUT it offends anyone, you are immediately guilty and must pay the consequences. No one is condoning bad behavior but due process should prevail.
After the game Saturday, I spoke to our league commissioner and senior official and both re-affirmed my current beliefs – I am well within the bounds of the rules and both seemed to appreciate my approach. I am continuing to strengthen my emotional intelligence to motivate the kids to play hard and have fun so it has been a great growth experience. But, not sure what I went through was really necessary…