Author Topic: Redirecting rude comments.  (Read 1952 times)

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Coley

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Redirecting rude comments.
« on: January 03, 2013, 02:38:18 PM »
Let's say you (in general) work for a company where one of the corporate goals is to promote civility and respect within all levels of the operation. Despite this corporate goal, your superiors routinely engage in gossip and make rude comments about other employees behind their backs. Most of the time, this gossip and commentary occurs during staff meetings that the superiors are leading.

You and your coworkers find this gossip and commentary to be distasteful, and none of you are interested in hearing it or participating in it. What would be the most appropriate way to head off such discussion when it begins? Is there a way to address it proactively? Given that it is a superior who is engaging in this behavior, is it appropriate to address it all?

mrkitty

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 02:48:14 PM »
Before I could answer, I have to ask this: how are you made aware of the behavior? Are you in the meetings and witnessing this first hand? Did someone else tell you about it? Or is the door open and you're overhearing the conversation?

Because I think if you're directly hearing the comments, then I might suggest you document each occurrence with the date, time, name of the individual and the offensive comment, and then report to HR.

But if you're hearing this second-hand from someone else, I'd be careful. They may have an ax to grind and trying to pull you into their drama. And if your co-workers are gossiping about gossiping, then I would really be careful - I'd probably think the whole department is toxic and I'd start looking for another job, because I don't know if HR could help the situation. Maybe, but I don't know. Is this behavior just the department or throughout the whole company?
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Coley

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 03:37:12 PM »
Before I could answer, I have to ask this: how are you made aware of the behavior? Are you in the meetings and witnessing this first hand? Did someone else tell you about it? Or is the door open and you're overhearing the conversation?

Because I think if you're directly hearing the comments, then I might suggest you document each occurrence with the date, time, name of the individual and the offensive comment, and then report to HR.

But if you're hearing this second-hand from someone else, I'd be careful. They may have an ax to grind and trying to pull you into their drama. And if your co-workers are gossiping about gossiping, then I would really be careful - I'd probably think the whole department is toxic and I'd start looking for another job, because I don't know if HR could help the situation. Maybe, but I don't know. Is this behavior just the department or throughout the whole company?

First, let me say that I'm posting this concern for a friend who is not a member of eHell. He was telling me about the rude comments and gossip that he hears at staff meetings, and he wondered if there was anything he could do about it. He and I aren't coworkers.

So, to answer your first question, he hears these comments directly at staff meetings -- first hand. He also has been in other meetings with his direct supervisor and other departmental leaders when these comments have been made.

To the best of my knowledge, my friend is only aware of this behavior occurring within his department and then upward through ranks of leadership that oversees his department. The comments are generally derogatory in nature and often are targeted toward leadership in other departments.

Documenting these occurrences does sound like a good idea. I will suggest that. He has a positive rel@tionship with the HR director and could consult with her about this.

Sharnita

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 04:13:58 PM »
Could you maybe ask "Will this directly affect increased sales/poductivity/student acievement/isentified goal?"

mrkitty

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 05:41:22 PM »
Let's say you (in general) work for a company where one of the corporate goals is to promote civility and respect within all levels of the operation. Despite this corporate goal, your superiors routinely engage in gossip and make rude comments about other employees behind their backs. Most of the time, this gossip and commentary occurs during staff meetings that the superiors are leading.

You and your coworkers find this gossip and commentary to be distasteful, and none of you are interested in hearing it or participating in it. What would be the most appropriate way to head off such discussion when it begins? Is there a way to address it proactively? Given that it is a superior who is engaging in this behavior, is it appropriate to address it all?



Huh. Based on the bolded, it almost sounds like the upper management is aware that this behavior is an ongoing problem, or they're trying to improve the culture of the company. I'm glad you're going to suggest HR to your friend. It definitely sounds to me like the best thing to do is to make them aware that it's not working.  ;)

I hope it gets better for your friend. It is so demoralizing to hear people berate each other. That kind of behavior really contributes to a toxic environment, and HR and upper management really should address it.
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

Coley

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 06:45:45 PM »
Thank you. I shared your suggestion with him already, and he thinks it's a good idea.

The organization has an odd culture. I worked there a number of years ago and found that communication can be PA at best. It's the sort of place where people will e-mail your boss when they're unhappy with you rather than speak with you directly about the problem so you can resolve it together. A lot of negativity and intimidation. Not so much civility and respect.

mrkitty

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 06:48:05 PM »
Oh, Jeez. That does sound terrible.

Coley, I'm not joking. Could you please PM me with the name of the company so I could be sure to steer clear of them during my job search? I would hate to waste my time applying at that company. And with my terrible luck, I'd probably wind up with a job there.  :'(
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

TootsNYC

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 07:38:42 PM »
Does this friend work at my company?

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Redirecting rude comments.
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 02:52:57 PM »
Does this friend work at my company?

Or at my old place?

The difference there was that HR Director was the worst of the gossiping back stabbers.

I found another job.
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