Advice from TRACOM’s Associate Jason Kiesau – a member of Forbes Coaches Council – shares how SOCIAL STYLE helps appropriately deal with gossip in the workplace. Read the full Forbes article here.
Embrace Gossip, Because You’re Never Going To Stop It
When you start to learn more about your SOCIAL STYLE and the Style of others, you learn that each Style has different needs for security and confidence. Each Style results in preferences for how you do things to meet your needs. Each comes with its own strengths, weaknesses, stress triggers and stress relief tactics. Each Style has dynamics that contribute to greater personal and professional success, while also some weaknesses that will hold you back if ignored and unmanaged.
When it comes to gossip, we learn that half of the general population’s security and confidence needs are met through other people. People with an Expressive Style need personal approval, and people with an Amiable Style need personal security. People with an Expressive Style need to be liked, heard, considered, recognized and respected. Their tension rises and they will become stressed when they feel disapproval from other people. People with an Amiable Style want predictability from people, and they get that by building strong relationships and adding value to those around them. Their tension rises and they become stressed when there is a lack of predictability, conflict and when others are generally not happy.
What does this have to do with gossip?
Well, half of the general population’s needs are met and their stress reduced through relationships with other people. So, when people are happy or excited, they are going to want to talk to people around them to meet their needs. Likewise, when they are upset, stressed or anxious, they are going to talk to people around them to reduce their tension and meet their needs.
Your challenge should not be setting an expectation that gossiping is bad and that your people shouldn’t talk to people around them. These people are valuable contributors and you want them to have their needs met and their stress reduced productively. Your challenge should be to understand your people and their needs. Let them know that you get it and you encourage open communication and collaboration, and promote what responsible and productive gossiping looks like. That way, for good or bad, everyone is respectful of themselves and others and moving forward productively.
Here are a few ways you can embrace and encourage gossip in your workplace:
1. Empathize with your people. Let them know that you get it. When things are good, they want to celebrate with others. When things are not good, they need to talk and vent, and that’s OK.
2. Encourage productive conversation. Challenge them to maintain respect for themselves and others through their celebrations and challenges. Acknowledge their needs and that you want them to have their outlets, but you prefer they act responsibly as well.
3. Encourage giving responsible support and feedback.Challenge your people to listen to and support one another without adding fuel to their fire and making things worse. The goal is to support their success, not promote unproductive or unreasonable attitudes.
4. Finally, encourage them to identify their ‘go-to’ people. These are people they can trust who support them and will hold them accountable as much as possible. For example, I have three or four go-to people I trust who will let me vent and express my frustrations, but they won’t add fuel to my fire and won’t let me carry on for the sake of carrying on. If my frustrations are legitimate, we talk about how to handle them productively, and when I’m wrong, they kindly tell me I’m wrong and challenge me to think differently.
Published source: February 21, 2019: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/02/21/embrace-gossip-because-youre-never-going-to-stop-it/#4733435d4c96