30 April, 2012

Perception and Gossip in Company Environment and its Effect

Radhakrishnan Chettour

We as human beings automatically make observations through out the day. Some of these observations are good and some are bad. These observations are also known as our perception of a person, place, or situation. We all know we shouldn’t judge someone the first time you meet them yet you’ve heard that little voice in your head making a comment and forming an opinion when you shouldn’t. That is your perception of the person you are meeting. These perceptions don’t stop on the street when you walk by someone new they go on through out the day, the week and the year.

The perceptions you have of others even overflow into the work place and can cause conflicts with other coworkers. When people begin to share their thoughts with other coworkers they open up the door for their coworkers to spread the gossip. This can cause enormous amounts of animosity amongst coworkers. There is also the issue of people getting involved in other workers lives whether its work related or not. They form opinions, make accusations, and cause drama. 

All of these problems are due to people forming perceptions of others when they shouldn’t. Workers should try to avoid idle gossip and concentrate on the tasks at hand. After all you are being paid to work not to congregate at the water cooler.

A good example of how perceptions and conflicts in the workplace affect real people is about this man I used to work with who was very well liked by everyone. One day one of the coworker decided to spread a rumor that he was not there for a company organized special function.  He started spreading the rumor that how the man could miss the function when he is in such a position. The rumors started flying around the office that the man was missing when the function was going on and nobody would say anything to him about it. In my opinion it doesn’t matter at all if the man was or wasn’t but it gave the office something to chat about. Finally when the gossip reached the top level management, the management called him and conducted a query. The man explained that he was present over there and working sincerely for making the function a true success. But the ultimate result was one person’s lying/gossip made the man embarrassed. It really hurt the man’s feelings and starts thinking that how should I work among such gossip mongers. The top level management also failed to take adequate measure against the person who started spreading the rumor even after identifying. The practice of the person became a habit and went on spreading rumors against the man. Finally the man ended up quitting his job because nobody looked at him the same. The worst part was he not only knew the man was there but even given instruction to that man to carryout some work related to the seating of guests for the function and the rumors spread by a coworker made this man leave his job. And if this kind of rumor mongers is at the top management level it will spoil the whole working environment and the company will miss right people and finally in the bus there will be only torch bearers of rumor mongers.

It’s the responsibility of the top management and all the people working in the company to identify gossip mongers and to make it known to everyone that such people won’t be tolerated. For achieving a non-gossip company environment, management at the top level should make sure that all actions and deeds are transparent and every one in the company has knowledge about what’s happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen. 90% of the gossip can be prevented by this lone action. 

This just goes to show that opinions and perceptions of people are not always right and I believe they do not belong to the workplace.

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