Why Shaming Should Be Avoided

Is shaming an effective strategy? Does it assist us in our efforts to shape or influence the way others think and act? Many would answer in the affirmative and point to their own experience as parents, coaches, business managers or owners, etc. as proof of its efficacy. I discussed this topic recently with a seasoned corporate trainer who sincerely believes in its usefulness as a method of keeping employees in line. Not just one method among others, mind you, but the best and only truly effective one. The conversation quickly segued into the wider topic of whether this authoritarian business practice – specifically its purported “usefulness” – carries over into the realm of political discourse. “Don’t reason in good faith with those who disagree with you,” the trainer said with a smug sense of self-righteousness, “but humiliate them into submission.” This combative approach is something those of us who frequent[…]

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