Prevent Office Rumors By Talking To Employees

by on June 29, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Ideas To Curtail Office Rumors

You wouldn’t think managers need a lesson on how to talk but actually we do. We’re okay at managing performance and most supervisors would tell you, “Oh man, give me a performance issue. It’s so much easier than to deal with this stuff.”

And this is where we let our supervisors down and allow office rumors to come in by not giving them the communication training that they really need. Most supervisors are promoted based on their work ethic, based on their performance not their ability to communicate.

First, master the courage to interrogate reality. We’re all changing. Things are happening all the time. We neglect to share this with others. And remember, employees fill gaps in communication with office rumors.

If you go through a reduction in force, people forget the survivors. It’s too many, too often. A year after a reduction force, the expenses are the same or higher. How did that happen? We got rid of X number of employees. We were worried about the employees that left. You should have been worried about the employees that are there. Nobody talked to them. Nothing will drive employees crazier and create an environment for office rumors than a manager who walks around like nothing happened after a reduction in force or so and so is gone.

When you want office rumors and other destructive communication to take over in your operation, just try this. Well, what happens? Well, the survivors say, “Look what they did to my buddy, Janice. So I’m going to…” they’ll start using their sick leave, increase in workers’ comp claims, and even destructive, not just communication, but behavior. They’ll crash the computer system. They’ll put this little bolt so that this rattles constantly for the customer just to get even. “Look what they did to my buddy.” So make sure you attend to the survivors.

Come out from behind yourself into the conversation. Unreal conversations are expensive. Remove the word “but” from your vocabulary. Substitute the word “and”. How often have you come out of a meeting and you’ve gone, “What the heck did we just talk about? What did we decide?” “Oh, I don’t know. I have to wait until the next meeting to get a summary of this one.” This is not complicated but it’s just hard work and constant. Be here, be prepared nowhere else. If you’ve got 11 minutes to communicate and that’s it, then be here.

You’re going to find that employees, when you’re trying to talk to them, and you’re looking at the computer and you’re blackberry’s buzzing around, they know you’re not engaged. Be here. Be in the moment. Even though no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company any relationship or life, any single conversation can.

Tackle your toughest challenge today. Burnout doesn’t occur because we’re solving problems. It’s because we’re going after these same ones over and over and over again. Obey your instincts. Trust your little voice. Take responsibility for your own emotional wake. If you’re miserable, grumpy, or contributing to office rumors and other negative communication, you better believe the unit’s not going to overcome that. Remember, we get the employees we deserve. For a leader, there’s no trivial comment.

Let silence do the heavy lifting. Slow down the conversation. Notice the little insight in the spaces between. I got this a lot from kids and employees as a manager. “I don’t know” Well, then come back. Well, what would it be if you did know? Just trying to set the pattern. You know, there’s only so much of this I’m going to take. If you did know, what would it be? What would it be if you did know?

Edited Remarks from “Gossip, Gab, and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize Its Negative Impact” by Hunter Lott

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