Where Does Sarcasm Fit In Your Workplace?

By on October 11, 2011

women at work around table with cell phonesBy Pamela Cournoyer –

There are so many sweet opportunities to take a jab at others. It’s all in good fun, isn’t it?

I hate to break it to you; if you lead as a supervisor, manager, department head or business owner – sarcasm does not belong anywhere you are. Aspiring to a leadership or management position? No sarcasm for you either.

‘Oh, Pamela, you just took the fun out of everything, why so adamant?’

Why do I suggest you leave cynicism at the door? Let’s start with Merriam-Webster’s definition of ‘sarcasm:’ ‘tearing of flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer.’ 1: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain. 2: a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual. These are sobering definitions.

When I am called into a workplace to improve relationships, one of the trouble indicators I look for is the use of sarcasm by management and supervisors. Sarcasm is never uplifting, it is never encouraging and it is always at someone’s expense. Those who use sarcasm towards their children have no idea of the depth of wounding they may inflict. Sarcasm towards yourself doesn’t say much about how you feel about you, either.

The idea is to find a way to laugh and have fun, not at anyone else’s expense. Natural humor is all around us. If you consider yourself as a leader, then I’m sure you will find a healthy way to replace sarcasm in your workplace.

CLASS E-Tip: Sticks & stones may break your bones – sarcastic words and their tone will bleed you out. A positive word is like an elixir, healthy, constructive and empowering!

May you always Communicate with CLASS,

Pamela Cournoyer

Discussion point:

Do you have problems with sarcasm in your workplace?
If you used to, what did you do to curb it?

Being an honor student of life’s lessons & challenges, Pamela Cournoyer, founder of Communicate with CLASS, http://www.communicatewithclass.com/, “caught” how to be highly effective in working with groups who are not the happiest campers in the world. Her understanding and grasp of the natural nuances of discord in the workplace, coupled with her extensive 20+‐year background as a Professional Trainer, Coach and Facilitator, are the perfect combination. She intuitively and playfully surfaces obvious frustrations and will also have you laughing at her awkwardness and eventually at your own, with vows to move beyond and improve even the toughest ‘cookies’ in the room. Pamela is a “must see” and even more, a “must have” if you have an organization that is looking to improve their communication. 

About Pamela Cournoyer

Being an honor student of life’s lessons& challenges, Pamela Cournoyer, founder of Communicate with CLASS, www.communicatewithclass.com, “caught” how to be highly effective in working with groups who are not the happiest campers in the world. Her understanding and grasp of the natural nuances of discord in the workplace, coupled with her extensive 20+‐year background as a Professional Trainer, Coach and Facilitator, are the perfect combination. She intuitively and playfully surfaces obvious frustrations and will also have you laughing at her awkwardness and eventually at your own, with vows to move beyond and improve even the toughest ‘cookies’ in the room. Pamela is a "must see" and even more, a "must have" if you have an organization that is looking to improve their communication.

4 Comments

  1. Laurie Neumann

    November 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I think you are absolutely right. I don’t like sarcasm anywhere, anytime. I don’t find it funny. So whether it’s in the workplace, in your family, at church – I don’t feel there is room for it.

    • Pamela Cournoyer

      November 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Laurie,

      I don’t blame you Laurie for not liking sarcasm.

      There are some people who use sarcasm as a coping mechanism; it doesn’t help anyone around them and it is a poor way to cope, however, it is what it is.
      I was very sarcastic as a young adult and still fight the urges because it was my own coping mechanism.

      I would be naive to think we could rid of sarcasm from the workplace, although as a consultant, I see the use of sarcasm to be a large contributor to stopping trust. Many seem to thrive on it. I suggest those who use sarcasm watch the reactions of the people they are using their sarcasm around to see if it is really “ok” or if the other person is not managing it well, and then adjust accordingly and respectfully.

      The real challenge here is how do we manage ourselves when it happens to us. Allowing sarcasm to be the straw that breaks us is not the answer either, we have to find ways to grow beyond the words.

      What have you used to cope when you had no control over sarcastic comments?

      My best to you, Pamela

  2. Pamela Cournoyer

    November 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Laurie,

    I don’t blame you Laurie for not liking sarcasm.

    There are some people who use sarcasm as a coping mechanism; it doesn’t help anyone around them and it is a poor way to cope, however, it is what it is.
    I was very sarcastic as a young adult and still fight the urges because it was my own coping mechanism.

    I would be naive to think we could rid of sarcasm from the workplace, although as a consultant, I see the use of sarcasm to be a large contributor to stopping trust. Many seem to thrive on it. I suggest those who use sarcasm watch the reactions of the people they are using their sarcasm around to see if it is really “ok” or if the other person is not managing it well, and then adjust accordingly and respectfully.

    The real challenge here is how do we manage ourselves when it happens to us. Allowing sarcasm to be the straw that breaks us is not the answer either, we have to find ways to grow beyond the words.

    What have you used to cope when you had no control over sarcastic comments?

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