Benevolence and resilience: beware of overdose

There are words which, like alcohol, must be used in moderation or you will really get drunk. 🤫 For my part, I have a hangover. I'm tired of kindness. And I'm fed up with resilience.

Often the prerogative of political spheres, these two words have spilled over into the professional and managerial world. Originally virtuous, these strong words served and re-served with all the sauces have an annoying tendency to ring hollow today. And that we get on well, it is not this term that I question but the excessive use that we can make of it. 👇 Explanations.

Whether one is a politician, business leader or manager, rhetoric and dialectics are inherent in these professions. The sense of wording is essential. It reinforces the point if it is handled with intelligence and the dessert if used clumsily. Unfortunately, by dint of use, certain words contribute to the trivialization of the discourse and are emptied of all their substance. Worse, most of these words are outrageously used to serve a generally opposite action. 

As when in a company a manager reframes a member of his team and justifies " you know, I tell you with kindness ". NO, it's not kindness. And my opinion is that she has nothing to do in this type of situation. If we take the etymology of benevolence, it refers to the Latin " benevolentia "meaning" favorable disposition towards others ". You will agree with me that we are quite far from the situation. And the problem is that by dint of misuse, a truly benevolent situation loses its force when it is mentioned. On the other hand, the absence of benevolence does not mean absence of respect.

Words have meaning, so choose them well. Especially since the French language, according to the Larousse, has more than 59 words, so the range is quite wide. It is not for nothing that French is the language of diplomacy. This is because it allows you to bring in a lot of nuances.

Words have meaning, so choose them well.

As for resilience... Ah resilience, it comes together at all times: I must be resilient, my business must be resilient, society must be resilient, etc. Introduced at the time of the epidemic peak by the government in April 2020 with the establishment of a military operation rightly baptized “Resilience”. As a reminder or for information, resilience lies in the ability to cope with a shock. Since then, it has been used extensively. In March 2022, Jean Castex, then Prime Minister, presented to us " the economic and social resilience plan » ; in April, a call for projects was launched agrifood resilience and capacities 2030 » ; August 24, 2021 was promulgated “ the climate and resilience law ».

So yes, I know that the communication gains in effectiveness through repetition. But this recurrence is to the detriment of the force of the discourse. To give a parallel, you know all these ads radio station that repeats the brand name a dozen times. Of course you hold it back, but you are so disgusted by it that it will cause a rejection effect. It is the same with certain words.

The other big pitfall that I identify with this trend is that these words are generally formulated in the form of injunctions. " Be kind to each other » or advocate the « practice of benevolent management », the concept no longer applies but is decreed, which can throw off a feeling of guilt. And the paradox of all this is that these injunctions are not benevolent.

This induces that if you are not resilient, you are weak; if you are not benevolent, you lack humanity. The frequency of invocation of these two concepts pushes them to become the norm, an obligation to apply it. If one does not act in this normality, then one is deviant. However, to sum up the human being in these two words alone is to deny the complexity that governs human interactions and the entire emotional spectrum that constitutes each of us.

Sounding almost like precepts, benevolence and resilience seek to embellish or deaden human relations, risking sanitization. At a time when making waves is rather unwelcome, I will therefore campaign for the pavement in the pond. For this new year, I don't wish you goodwill and resilience, but just about everything else ☺

Maxim Poux,

Manager at LIAMETHO

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