Allowing People To Complain To You Encourages Under-Performance.
Imagine Wezenesh is complaining to you about something Nesredin has done.
A High Performance Leader would ask a question such as: “Are you telling me this so I can coach you in how to work through this problem with Nesredin , or shall we find him so we can all discuss it together?”
Do this in a supportive way: your intent being to develop the skills within your team so that issues are resolved quickly – not to punish, nor to let issues bubble and fester until they turn into volcanic proportions.
If the person’s response is, “No I just want to vent”, then your response could be something along the lines of “Look, that doesn’t serve you, me or Nesredin, I’m happy to work with you to find some solutions you could take to Nesredin and discuss, but I don’t want to get caught up in venting sessions”.
When you do this consistently, your people will know that they can trust you. That you won’t talk about them unless they are present. It will be one of the greatest acts of leadership that you can do – also one of the most unusual!
There are two things you want to be aware of when listening to workplace gossip:
1. You are hearing the other person’s rule book, their interpretations, prejudices, biases and fears etc. You don’t know what other events have passed between Nesredin and Wezenesh that may have caused Wezenesh to be complaining to you about Nesredin
2. Once you have listened to Wezenesh’s gossip, you may now have been contaminated about Nesredin – even if you didn’t want to be. Some part of you may believe the gossip – and you may very well start to look for those negative traits in Nesredin and find them!
What Type Of Leader and Person Are You?
You will be able to find a lot of well-justified reasons for gossiping (or whatever name you want to call it), however if you are truly dedicated to High-Performance, then ask yourself:
• “Is this gossip bringing out the best in me, the best in the person I am gossiping to and the best in the person we are gossiping about?”
• “How much more powerful will I be if I speak only with integrity?”
• “How much stronger will I lead when I choose to not listen to gossip?”
In the Moment of Choice you need to decide who am I? Am I a Message or a Warning?
What to Do When You Find Yourself Involved in Workplace Gossip
It is the High Performance Leadership way to be the person to put a stop to the gossip – particularly, when you are amongst your peers. It’s certainly easier to let people who report to you, know that you don’t talk about others, unless they are present. It can be a bit more of a challenge when you are talking with your peer group, or your leader and they are ‘bagging’ another person or group.
Now, is the time to use the best of your influence skills, and let them know that you’d prefer to only focus on solutions, and that it would be best to have the other party involved in the conversation to get it fixed.
If, directly confronting the gossip seems too unsafe, your other options are to change the topic, or find a reason to excuse yourself from the conversation. Don’t stand there and listen to it.
Even listening to it will seem like you approve of it. So, either ask for a topic change or just walk away from the situation.
Should you find yourself talking negatively about someone else, forgive yourself your humanity – none of us are perfect. However, be mindful to own your part of the story. Maybe you could say something like:
“I know this is unhealthy and I am gossiping, I am stepping out of my integrity but I just need to vent. Can you listen to me and then offer me an alternative viewpoint or help me to develop a strategy so I can raise my concerns with the other person in a more constructive way.”
Truthfully though, the best advice is: keep your mouth closed until you can find a way to speak about the other person, no matter what they have done, in a way that honors both yourself and the other person.
The question I constantly ask myself when I find I’m fuming about someone is “If I am being the best possible version of myself, what positive things would I look for in this person and what would I do in this moment?”
Admittedly, at times that can be very, challenging, particularly if someone has done something that is hurtful or very annoying. However, the definition of unconditional love is to “look through the eyes of your higher source and find the good”. It’s always there – just sometimes buried underneath the gunk that is life, and which causes us to sometimes behave in ways that isn’t us being at our best.
And, asking a question like this doesn’t mean that you give in/give up. It simply starts to put you in a mindset, where you can set the tone and vibe of any conversation/interaction you might have with this person, that will lead to positive result…. rather than an escalation of the problems.
Dealing with workplace gossip
1. Review your company policy: if any exists, for the guidelines on ethics-related matters.
2. Observe: Before launching yourself into office politics, observe. See how people relate and learn the unofficial roles certain individuals in your workplace have adopted. If you notice one person who consistently makes trouble, take the necessary actions to have as little interaction with that person as possible.
3. Be busy Gossipmongers want attention. If you’re delving into your work, you can’t be available to appreciate their latest tales.
4. Don’t participate: If there is gossip at your place of work, let it stop with you. If someone passes a “juicy story” on to you, don’t pass it any further. Take personal responsibility to act with integrity.
5. Turn it around: by saying something positive. It isn’t nearly as much fun to spread negative news if it’s spoiled by a complimentary phrase about the person being attacked.
6. Keep your private life private: Don’t trust personal information with coworkers. Remember, if they are gossiping about others, they will gossip about you, too. Don’t give them ammunition.
7. Choose your friends wisely at work: You spend a good deal of time at work so it’s natural for friendships to develop. Share information sparingly until you are sure that you have built up a level of trust.
8. Behave appropriately at work: Remember that work is not the place to share all types of information.
9. Be direct: You know you are morally correct by not gossiping. So does the one spreading the gossip. If you confront that person and confidently tell him or her that such behavior is making it uncomfortable for you and other coworkers, it’s likely to stop.
10. Don’t be afraid to go to a superior: Gossiping wastes a lot of company time and hurts morale. A company interested in a healthy work environment will value the opportunity to correct this type of situation.
So this is what scholars and researchers tell us and I would agree to it wholeheartedly said Bilal. It is quite interesting uttered Himan who was attentively listening to the priceless advice. I think we need a forum on such topic stated Hasina if excellent and productive work performance is to be sought. It would indeed be of an interest to continuously discuss such exhilarating theme articulated Yemane.
It is said, and it is quite true, that we keep on learning. I would wind up our discussion with this great quotation concluded Bilal
“Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people “