My Manager Swears By It!


My Manager Swears By It!This is the sixth and final article in my Content Marketing Academy live 17 (CMA Live 17) series.

I’ve called it My Manager Swears By It.  

Doug Kessler spoke to the audience about swearing in marketing.

So what does he think about swearing in marketing and what can we learn from his message? 

Doug unashamedly has a sweary brand and has clearly put a lot of time and effort into demonstrating how that works for his clients. Whilst he isn’t ashamed of swearing in marketing, he is clear that it’s appropriate swearing in order to connect with the target audience. It’s never gratuitous or setting out to exploit. He goes on to say, swearing in marketing:

  • Gives an element of surprise
  • Signals confidence
  • Resonates with others
  • Signals Authenticity
  • Can be funny
  • Adds the mojo to your voice.

So as a leader, manager or team member,

would you swear by those six areas to enhance leadership?

If you were to take those six reasons why swearing works in marketing could you translate them into leadership qualities that your manager would swear by?


Gives element of surprise

People like consistency. They like to know where they are. From my work with i3 and DISC, I know there are people who don’t do change for change sake, who are most productive with routine, and like to know the detail behind change and decision making. However, we’re not all the same. Others work well with concepts and ideas, with a flexible and / or social environment, and thrive on change and surprise.

I would therefore reframe giving an element of surprise to keeping ideas fresh. Creating a culture in which those who like routine, structure and information, can problem-solve, continuously improve their areas of work, and create the stability whilst others can innovate and develop. Those who thrive on change and are future orientated, can then go forward seeking innovation and change.

The success is in the communication, self awareness and creating collaboration.

My Manager Swears By ItNo one wants a David Brent type clown jumping out shouting “SURPRISE!” But we can help others to be surprised at their achievements, the occasional treat as a thank you for hard work, surprise announcement of success. I’d argue keeping it fresh is better than creating uncertainty with sudden the surprise announcements.


Signals Confidence

My Manager Swears By ItYes a must! I’m not even going to ask what you think. It’s an unequivocal yes. Your team needs to have confidence in you. If you’re not a confident leader it creates enormous repercussions. Your team will lack confidence, feel insecure. In times of change they won’t trust you to have their best interests at heart, and will feel vulnerable. They won’t trust you to fight their corner when things go wrong. They won’t invest in the line management relationship, which could lead to undermining, going off as a loose canon, leaving the organisation, sitting back stagnating, because, hey, what you gonna do about it!

People need to have confidence in you to buy in. Let’s go back to marketing:

“This powder is bloody brilliant, it takes all the crap out of those nappies”, is better than: “I’m told our powder is better on nappies than any other”.

Teams want decisiveness, us to own our views and what we stand for, honesty, respect and clarity. That comes with being a confident leader.


Resonates with others

My Manager Swears By ItFor me this is making a connection. To resonate with others I’d say shared vision and values. We’re on the same page or singing from the same hymn sheet in management speak! This is about being so clear, in your vision and values there’s no room for misunderstanding and people either buy in or vote with their feet! It’s creating a connection to attract the right people, and deter the wrong people.

Innocent is a brand I love. I love their products, their values, their message and that their leadership mirrors it all. If I wanted to work for an organisation again, that’s where I’d love to be. There will be people saying I can’t think of anything worse. But that’s it. Their leadership is so strong it’s in everything they do. It resonates with some and not with others.

Don’t be afraid to differentiate by strong leadership.



Signals Authenticity

My Manager Swears By It!So this is about being real. Not altering our message to conform or be accepted.

If it’s bloody brilliant then it is. It’s not wonderfully amazing, because that’s not you, and that’s for someone else’s audience not yours.

No team wants a YES person who seeks to comply. Being authentic means knowing yourself and being comfortable in your own skin, you know your strengths and aren’t afraid to admit your weaknesses, whether that’s to your seniors or within the team. It creates trust, makes you human, and gives the air of confidence we talked about earlier.

Leaders need to bring their whole selves to work. If there’s one of these six areas I’d expect your manager to swear by its this one.


Can be funny

My Manager Swears By It!Yes, gone are the days when it was nose to the grindstone! We all need humour in the workplace. I’d expect humour to be present in an effective team. If your team can’t laugh or have a chat when you’re in the room, you’ve got a problem. If you notice your team seem to have a better time or are more engaged without you, may be its time to check out what’s going on.


Adds the mojo to your voice

I’m taking this as motivation, vision and inspiration. When things are tough your team look to you to raise morale, inject perspective and humour (if appropriate). Some people plateau and can’t see what’s next for them. They look to you as a mentor, to support their development and in turn help bring back their mojo.

We all have our own tone of voice and there’s nothing we can do about that, but we can learn to communicate with passion and enthusiasm creating interest in what we have to say, to inspire interest in our vision.

For me mojo is about raising and sustaining morale, and, creating passion and enthusiasm. Teams need both. They need to be inspired to buy into the organisation and its vision. Empowered to contribute and when times get tough they need to be lifted to carry on. Just watch the 80s sitcom, The Brittas Empire to see how one individual can change the mood in a room. Check out Mr Brittas!

I’ve loved every minute of writing the six articles focusing on my leadership, communication and personal development take-aways from CMA Live 17.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Do you see the connection between marketing and organisation or personal development?  Let me know.

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