Driving in this morning I thought about a recent conversation with a former co-worker. The topic: how to handle co-workers that are gossiping, griping, and complaining. Yes – this is what adulthood looks like. Thinking about mundane managerial topics. What happened to me? I used to be cool…see below.
Dave Ramsey offers a unique perspective on this. Gossip once = warning. Gossip twice = you’re fired. Not sure I’m ready for that yet.
Looking back on that conversation, I think most of the bad advice I was spouting was an attempt to treat the symptoms, not the cause. Possible “causes” of this behavior might be:
* Frustration with rapid change and lack of formalized structure
* Feeling like they don’t have a stake in process
* Different expectations of how they want to be managed vs. are being managed
* Bad management
* Different character traits – they value/see the world differently
* Professional immaturity
Possible treatments for each requires a different approach. 1 – 3 requires listening; asking lots of questions to learn where they’re coming from, instead of preaching here’s what you need to do. Number 4 is your own fault. Number 5 – getting the entire company to take one of the StrengthsFinder tests or something similar could help here. #6 is when you’ve ruled everything else out and it’s time to move on.