Leaders: Get The Rude Out

by Jennifer Miller on July 16, 2010

in Leadership, Personal Effectiveness

Given my love of words, I subscribe to Thinkmap’s Visual Thesaurus. Each day, I look forward to an email from Thinkmap’s Word of the Day. (Yes, I’m that geeky.) Today’s word is “erudite”.  It means “having or showing profound knowledge”. Don’t you just love how it trips off your tongue? Say it with me: erudite.

Beyond being fun to say, the roots of this word are cool too. The word erudite is related to the word “rude”.  My Word of the Day email informed, “erudite is from a Latin verb that means instruct, which is, in essence, to get the rudeness out”.

I love this! As a corporate trainer, my goal is to help facilitate learning rather than be a Sage on the Stage, offering up my volumes of wisdom.  In an adult learning environment, there’s nothing ruder than an arrogant person at the front of the room, pontificating. The same goes for leadership.  People learn a lot from their leaders, whether the leaders is conscious of doing the “teaching” or not. Every day, leaders have the opportunity to instruct their employees, whether in a coaching role, or as a role model demonstrating the company values. It’s up to the leader in how he or she wants to teach: with humility or with arrogance.

I’m going to turn the “word of the day” into a “thought for the day”— at work, would someone describe you as “erudite”? Are you seen as someone who is constantly striving to help others learn, while keeping the rudeness out?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Walter July 16, 2010 at 7:09 am

Your “erudite” has refreshed my vocabulary. I have encountered such word on a certain book I read and from then on I have learned its meaning. As you know I’m also that geeky. 🙂

It is a sad fact that most leaders are arrogant when it comes to leading. Franky, I don’t have much respect for these type. A good leader should be erudite in terms of knowing that he’s just as human as everyone else. 🙂

Jennifer July 16, 2010 at 7:49 am


Thanks for joining the conversation. Yes, “erudite” is a fancy word and probably something that doesn’t get used very often, but I just couldn’t resist talking about its roots. Glad to hear it was helpful to you!

Deirdre July 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

So good. As a facilitator, I feel that I learn just as much as I share. LOVE the word.

Kevin W. Grossman July 26, 2010 at 6:22 am

Right on, Jennifer. Taking this advice to heart and signing up for the Visual Thesaurus.

Lori Meyer August 3, 2010 at 10:48 am

Thank you so much for using this one word as a critical reminder that teaching can’t truly take place without genuine respect for those you are teaching.

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