Controversial Current Events will Disrupt Workplace Harmony if You Let Them

When it comes to discussing, listening to or spreading information about controversial topics at the workplace, you run the risk of angering management and co-workers.  For some workers, they are insensitive to the news they view at work and feel it appropriate to broadcast their personal views even if they come in the form of a video being played on one's computer.  It is best to keep your news to yourself!

Sometimes workers learn the hard way when approached about the content they are viewing or listening to.  "Could you please turn your radio down or off that news is just not good for business...Maybe it would be best to refrain taling about that topic, because things are starting to get heated around here...We have a job to do."  No matter how polite you say it, a person who could care less about the feelings of others will become defensive.  He or she may not want to talk to you anymore, act rudely or impersonal because of your warning.

An employee who may have had a long discussion about difficult subject matter related to current events with relatives and friends only the night before, might want to come to work without the pressure he or she had experienced at home.  However, Insensitive Nancy, Liberal Lee and Conservative Carl may want to bring up the latest media scandal.  By doing this, all three may end up being a disruption to workflow which may result in future discord between staff members.

Save the drama for mama! Put off discussion about the latest controversial discussions for outside the workplace--that is if you want to keep good relations between team members.

Nicholl McGuire

Favoritism at the Workplace and Office Gossip Will Get You Fired

When you signed a contract with an employer that included a line like, "XYZ Company can terminate this contract at will..." what this meant is that they don't have to give you a reason why they can dismiss you.  So if Jane Doe decides to share some office gossip about this employee and that one to her favorite co-worker and you participate in the discussion, don't wonder why the company has decided to go along with the "at will" dismissal.  Most often the newest person on the team is let go before any other.

Office gossip about a boss, a fellow employee, or even a competitor is just plain bad.  It doesn't uplift the workplace environment, it constantly puts tension in the air, and makes employees unproductive.  Some workers just can't handle harsh criticism, being lied on, disrespected, or whispered about.  The more it is done at the workplace, the more it will fuel the fire between individuals who already have a hard enough time working together.

Bosses, supervisors, and others are guilty of playing favorites.  They tell the favored ones what they like and don't like about certain staff members in the hope that what they say won't get back to the target, but oftentimes it does especially when there is a family connection.  Workers don't think about just how small the world is when they talk about their personal issues and problems they are having with co-workers.  Employees tend to know one another in other departments particularly in industries where workers are encouraged to attend events together, participate in conference calls and classes.

Playing favorites is divisive and when there is a boss who often has lunch with one favored supervisor and not the others, this too can create problems.  Workers wonder why are the two so friendly and what is being said.  Most leaders will not spend much time with any workers during personal time, because they don't want to be accused of playing favorites between staff.

Here are some tips to keep the gossip drama to a minimum:

1.  Avoid the temptation to display who your favorite people are in front of fellow workers especially if you are in leadership, such as:  inviting the same workers to have lunch with you daily; instead of inviting the team or having lunch at the office for everyone to participate.

2.  Keep criticism to yourself unless you plan on doing something about the concerns of staff members.

3.  Be kind to everyone even if you would rather hurt them with your words.

4.  Be quick to apologize if your negative words should reach the ears of someone you dislike and present a plan for making wrongs right.  Apologizing doesn't mean you like the person, but it does make you aware of how what you say has not only hurt the person (put yourself in his or her shoes), but caused issues at the workplace.  A good employee would not want to cause disruption or create further tension for fellow workers.

5.  If things become too upsetting at the workplace because of gossip, favoritism and more, take the time to evaluate whether you still like the workplace and if it is in the best interest of your self and others on whether you should stay.  Dismiss yourself before the boss dismisses you.

Nicholl McGuire, author of Job Journal, My Business Plan and other journals on


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