Did you ever throw a paper cup on the ground and walk away? The women who read this blog would not think to do that. The cup would find a home in a trash can.
And, if you look down and there is a candy wrapper lying on the pavement, do you pick it up and throw it in a waste basket? Most likely you would take the moment to help clean up the area.
So, why do we walk past unpleasant situations, unpleasant people and just keep going? And, sadly, there are also times we add to the difficulties with our comments and critiques and more “junk” is left in the room.
It’s time to look emotional pollution in the eye and start a campaign against toxic patterned behavior spills.
Saying “no” to divisiveness, to gossip, to office politics is an important step to cleaning up this invisible environment that pollutes as much as leaving trash on the floor.
Think about it for a moment. When someone tells you a “juicy tidbit” about a colleague how do you respond? Do you simply say “uh huh” and walk on? Do you ask for details and add “I knew she couldn’t be trusted?” Do you go to another colleague and say “Wait till you here this?”
There is old conditioning that had to do with safety and survival, handed from generation to generation, that is the plus side of gossip. We all want to be in the know. Okay, now the big question is what do you do with the information?
Emotional pattern spills happen in every office all the time. They can cause poor morale and lessened productivity; cleaning them up takes work and determination.
Here is the best way I have found to stop the “gotcha games” at work. When sour sentences come your way, simply ask “What is your intention by telling me this?” And then you must be quiet to give the other person ample time to answer.
If still not satisfied, another question “What do you want as an outcome?”
Again wait. And then “What do you expect me to do with this information?”
This is the foundation of the program “OUCH: Handling Conflict at Work” and I have seen positive changes occur quickly and effectively.
By irresponsibility, by ignorance, by inconsideration, we all pollute. By communicating, by questioning, by caring, we can keep our environments clean. It’s about you, it’s about me, and it’s about time!
Sarah C. says
How do you say these things without making yourself appear as the “bad guy” to the person who is talking to you?