Article by Barbara Krief - The Plus

In a video broadcast live via Periscope, Serge Aurier called Laurent Blanc a "fiotte". The PSG defender is certainly not the only French employee to insult his boss. So, can we call our superiors names to exorcise the overflow of tensions? Explanations by Claude de Scorraille , co-founder of Lact, psychotherapist and work psychologist.

Insulting his boss is not trivial. To get there, the frustration felt by the employee must have become unbearable and insurmountable. The transgressive insult is a means, sometimes the only one, to get out of an impasse  .



A healthy response 

Although it is difficult to pity Serge Aurier, we can understand that this player, erected as a national champion at only 23 years old, can suffer from the excessive pressure imposed on him by his situation, by his coach, who himself is subject to that of his hierarchy, themselves subservient to those of the public and the media.

The pressure starts from above and then flows until it floods the bottom of the pyramid which, at the end, cracks. It becomes denser when, moreover, the issue of the hierarchical relationship is perceived as an injunction to submit to a situation deemed unfair.

Today, the cynical behavior of an employee is frequently observed in situations of burn-out, as if it presented an ultimate means, certainly questionable, of making possible a metamorphosis, that of the phoenix which is reborn from its ashes.

This is why insulting your boss can ultimately be considered a good thing, a healthy response to a situation that has become unbearable. It is the manifestation of a malaise that has been contained for too long which opens the way to healing .

A last resort 

The insult thus put into perspective can be considered as a last resort, a way to decompress, not to implode. But it would have been healthier for Serge Aurier to discuss the rising tensions before they became totally hellish for him. Could he do it?

Within a hierarchical relationship, it is inevitable that tensions appear and sometimes difficult to manage the balance of power specific to the nature of this link.

I therefore advise employees, especially those who have an angry temperament, to avoid turning into a pressure cooker without a valve and to do so to share their point of view as soon as possible rather than acting as if the tensions do not weren't touching. And, thus, to accumulate even more explosive anger.

It is always better to choose to raise your voice on the spot or to accept the confrontation than to hear yourself utter an insult without your knowledge.

Let's not judge too harshly 

The fact of coming to insult his boss, behind his back, in front of others or face-to-face, also testifies to a special relationship between employee and employer.

Often insulting is a transgressive way to reposition and assert yourself in a relationship. Transgression is common among children, adolescents or employees who perceive themselves to be treated as such.

What is interesting is to note that it is exactly in this scenario that Serge Aurier finds himself, who is treated not as a young adult of 23, but as a child. The proof ? The information relayed by the media according to which the "chaperone" of the player was on leave the day of the skid. Wouldn't he be stuck in a system where on the one hand he is treated like an irresponsible child and on the other hand we are offended that he does not demonstrate responsible behavior?

We should therefore not judge too harshly those who end up insulting their superior. They are often just reacting to a situation that overwhelms them with the only tool they have left. Bearing in mind the context in which the insult was expressed must be taken into consideration.

After the insult 

On the side of the boss, the coach, it is obvious that the pill is hard to swallow. Words can hurt and it's hard not to take them personally. All the more so when they have been uttered in public. Beyond content, it is authority that is challenged.

Sanctions are therefore foreseeable and justified. It remains to be seen how to skip this episode. It is not impossible to manage to work again and in good conditions with your boss.

In this case, managing to engage differently in the relationship becomes the challenge. And that's not easy because it means betting on mutual trust without which starting afresh will be impossible.

This kind of crisis is beneficial if it gives rise to an evolution of the relationship that benefits each of the protagonists . The employee, because he will have the impression of being considered in his rightful place, the hierarchical, because he will feel respected in his position. Which is not always obvious when one is in the presence of egos inflated by talent and notoriety.