The Eighth Deady Sin — Demeaning Other People

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

In the July 2007 issue of Colorado Business, Pat Wiesner’s On Management column was entitled The Biggest Management Sin of All: How to Lose Your Job or at least Deserve to Lose It.

The biggest sin?  Demeaning people.  Mr. Wiesner says “My belief is that if we get caught shouting at people, demeaning them in any way, we should be fired.  On the spot." 

I agree.  And this holds for everyone – not just people in leadership and management positions.  Raising your voice and demeaning people is not only poor leadership, it is one of the hallmarks of interpersonally incompetent people.

Belittling, intimidating or otherwise demeaning people is not only nasty, it is destructive to others’ self esteem and self confidence.  Mr. Wiesner says “once you have made someone feel really negative about himself, how long would it take to reverse that feeling?  Pretty tough to do.”  Interpersonally competent people help others build – not destroy — their self confidence. 

Interpersonally incompetent people often seem to feel that the best way to feel good about themselves is to make others feel bad about themselves.  That’s why they often engage in demeaning and bullying behavior.  Not true.  The title of one of the first self help books, published by Thomas Harris in 1969, I’m OK, You’re OK says it best.  Interpersonally competent people come from an I’m OK, You’re OK place.  Bullies and demeaning people come from an I’m OK, You’re Not OK place. 

Interpersonally competent people realize that we’re all OK.  They work hard to meet people where they are and to build strong relationships with all of the people in their lives.

The common sense point here – treat people with kindness and respect.  Help them enhance their feelings of self esteem.  Do what you can to build their self confidence.  If you do, you’ll be known as an interpersonally competent person – and interpersonally competent people are welcome wherever they go.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. PONGE Siva Devi says:

    I have an aunt who did nothing but demean me when I had no issues with her. She had problems with my Mother, her elder sister, it was my fault. She had problems with my brother, it was my fault. Strange for this woman to say that I am her favourite niece. Well, I no longer am and what a relieve!!

    Finally, I ended my relationship with her as I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gave her a piece of mind and called it a day.

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