Eliminating Toxins

Last week we talked about pot stirrers and how they stir the pot—indirect comments that look innocent on the outside but are designed to cause problems.

First, if they say ANYTHING negative about anyone EVER, with kindness and directness, simply say, “Sounds like there is an issue between you and Tom. There’s always two sides of the story so let’s go over and get this worked out with him right away since I’m sure that you value that relationship with Tom.”

Don’t even think of telling them they should go talk to Tom. It won’t happen. Why? Because if what she was sharing was the truth, she would have already spoken with good purpose and asked Tom directly for what she wanted.

Second, stay away. If they try to say something negative, do not let them get past the first two words. Simply say, “Sounds like you are talking to the wrong person. Please go to Tom now so that he can do something about that.”

If she gets past the first few words, you now have an ethical obligation to be involved to more than request that she speaks to the other person—you need to escort her over to him.

And third, never take her into your confidence. Things you say to her WILL and can be…probably used against you.

Fourth, don’t react emotionally to their stirring the pot. She WANTS drama. Don’t feed the monster.

Last.. bring the behaviors to the attention of someone who can do something about it. Speak in facts. Don’t say, “James is a jerk and I don’t trust him.” Instead say, “I have some concerns about the impact James has on the team. I’d like to share three instances of behaviors that are unsettling, and that don’t fit the value of our organization where we require direct communication.”

One Response to “Eliminating Toxins”

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