Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Bad Politics to Talk Behind Another’s Back

Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Bad Politics to Talk Behind Another’s Back

By Kevin O'Toole, November 09 2021 12:01 am

I was watching this amazingly funny (albeit silly) movie, Dinner with the Schmucks, and ran across this seemingly throwaway line between Paul Rudd and Steve Carell: “You never know what they think of you until you hear them talk behind your back.”

Pretty simple and true observation.

Let’s be honest, most of us have probably had a conversation or two about others that was less than flattering. Could you only imagine how that person would have felt if they were listening in? Could you imagine the hurt ? Shock? Cringe worthy probably doesn’t dig deep enough.

I think it is bad politics, and bad form, to talk behind someone’s back. If you have something to say, grab a can of courage and say it openly.

As I have written about before, nothing in this is business stays a secret. People traffic in gossip/innuendo/rumor all day long – enjoying it in fact. I could sit here and say be careful what you say, because it’ll spread, or didn’t you learn that if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it at all?

But no one will listen.

So, here is my advice for the day: Be careful what you say because it will DEFINTIELY get out and you will have to atone for it at some point. There might be a leadership vote, a vote on a bill you need, a committee assignment you want, or extra funding for your campaign or staff. You will need something – everyone always does. When that time comes, you can be rest assured whatever you said 6 months/6 days/6 minutes ago will be known to the person you said it about.

Secrets don’t exist in this business.

If you’ve got a problem, speak up. I’ve learned that’s the easier way to ultimately get what you want – which is why you’re complaining anyway, isn’t it?

Just my thought of the day.


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