Wednesday, November 18, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Fighting Gossip

The internal politics of an organization can damage an otherwise healthy culture. Conflicting views of business strategy, for example, often yield pettiness, personal attacks and the politics of the destruction. Leaders, in both “sacred” and “secular” organizations, must deal with the human tendency to devour gossip.

Proverbs 18:8 (MSG) Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?

When leaders allow the team to eat the cheap candy of gossip, the work environment becomes charged with negative energy that discourages at best and destroys at worst. Consequently, people loose faith in the leadership, and even good ideas for solving business problems are viewed skeptically.

When Adam and Eve realized “they were naked…and hid themselves,” we humans have developed a lust to expose the nakedness of others by telling stories that tear down the character of the person, or build ourselves up. The sinful result of having the “knowledge of good and evil” is judgmental behavior – gossip being one expression of it.

Leader, here are some tips to handle office gossip:
· Make certain you are not providing cheap candy to those with a “sweet tooth.”
· When making tough business decisions, collaborate effectively.
· Air conflicting strategic views.
· Ask hard questions, without demeaning, that demand critical thinking.
· Then, after a path is chosen, ask each team member how he or she will help motivate and inspire people to follow the direction just set.
· If team members cannot get behind the decision after this process, they don’t belong on the team. It’s a cliché, but applies: there is no “i” in team.

Most importantly, gossip is a spiritual battle; therefore be sure that you fight it with spiritual weapons – or you will loose.

Are you armed correctly to fight spiritual battles, like gossip, at work?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

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