Gossiping is a disturbing common social weakness


Communication is the pivot on which every institution grows. No organization can survive without proper and effective communication networks. However, in most cases we concentrate on the formal communication networks and become oblivious to the informal ones yet these too affect our work behaviour and relationships.

Not a week goes by without our ears getting trapped by unsolicited information of what has been talked about us or others. We then get caught up in what others are saying about a colleague at work.

Even when our mouths betray us today, we never learn from such experiences, just like the famous French Revolution Bourbons who learned and forgot nothing.

It is true that having differing points of view is part of human nature and this creates trivial arguments that sometimes result in gossiping, backstabbing and even bullying at the workplace.

In a bid to win ourselves positions in our organizations, we sometimes choose to bicker, backstab, and gossip. We often make corridor or indoor office cacoons to gratify our egos.

Others enjoy know-towing to their bosses to assumingly be appreciated and promoted on that basis. The bosses then use similar informal communication networks to study and malign their subordinates.

And the born-again fraternity among us is not immune to this nonsense. Rubbishing fellow Christians and work colleagues, some even react with that self-comforting statement that “we are human beings”.

I do not think this should be a justification for wrong behaviour. Yes, we are human but we have God-given freedom to make better choices.

Effective work relationships cannot thrive where there is bickering, backstabbing, and gossiping. These are social poisons that cause inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

Make the right choice not to engage in such behavioural practices because you gain nothing but social poison.

Gossiping is a contagious social problem. If you allow yourself to be recruited and play along with such practices, you are not only causing social havoc to your colleagues but yourself as well. There is what we call secondhand stress, which is associated with such engagements.

If we must successfully deal with such practices, we must read and understand the gossipers’ and backstabbers’ motives. Are they challenged by our presence or work performance? Do they need our support? Or it is their true social behaviuor that is difficult to change? In my opinion, we can assess the situation and then in a friendly manner confront them to align thoughts on both sides.

The writer is a lecturer in the Faculty of Social  Sciences

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