Business is about money, right? It's about creating revenue, cutting costs, increasing marketshare and taking care of customers so they continue bringing us their money. As long as the money is coming in, little else matters, right? Not so fast. Business is also about relationships between people. When colleagues are respectful to one another and to their customers, money tends to follow. I have had the privilege of being part of some successful organizations and others that were less so. The difference is in how people treated one another. For example, some workplaces are rife with criticism and gossip. Trust is in short supply because people feel free to make careless comments about their co-workers or customers without regard to the impact. When a workplace harbors gossip,many negative outcomes can result: lowered morale, lowered productivity, inhibition of creativity, divisiveness, time-wasting and certainly not least, the hurtful effect it has on individuals. In a recent class, we discussed strategies for avoiding the gossip/criticism trap. Participants brainstormed responsible ways to respond when they face the threat. Some of the ideas discussed include:
- Just say no - simply state that you are uncomfortable having this conversation.
- Let your feet do the talking - excuse yourself without further explanation and walk away.
- How about those Panthers? - change the subject.
- His analytical skills are phenomenal! - Defend the absent.
- Let's call and offer her a hand - Ask how we can help the person being criticized instead of joining in.
Just as negativity can spread, so can an environment of positivity. What would happen if we practiced character and integrity? Just imagine.