Monthly Archives: June 2015

Your Weekly Noodle: June 24, 2015

two men and one woman gossiping about anothr woman

According to the Social Issues Research Center, “men gossip at least as much as women.”

Noodle* on this…
Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.~ Richard Steele

Gossip can be fun – especially “juicy” gossip and according to psychologist Peggy Drexler, PhD, It’s a fact of life: Where there are groups, there will be gossip. It’s how we’re wired. But in the workplace what’s natural can also be harmful—to morale, productivity, and careers. And, not just in the workplace. It is harmful everyplace.

Anthropologists tell us that gossip helps form connections among people and can be used to put pressure on those group members who are seen as “not pulling their own weight.”  According to Dr. Drexler, It is almost certain that deep in our past, a group of Mesolithic humans stood around a fresh kill, talking about someone who wasn’t holding up his end of the hunting and gathering.

But gossip hurts. It can damage relationships and hinder progress at work. In my corporate life, I was part of a process improvement team working on a project involving major changes in a work process. Like every major change, there some problems, bumps, and unforeseen issues that popped up in the early stages. But we understood that it was a work in progress.

Over time, the process was fine tuned based on the data collected, the problems encountered and feedback from employees, customers and stakeholders.  As the process improved, customer satisfaction scores improved, management was pleased and those involved became more comfortable and proficient with the situation and found that they had time to attend to other tasks.

Enter the gossips! One day, I stopped in the break room to get a soda. There were several people gathered around a table and they invited me to join them.  Turns out, they wanted the latest gossip on the project.  According to them, “everyone hates the changes” and “it is not going to last.”

I admitted that, like all changes, it was a work in progress; but the problems were being worked out and the feedback I received from the customers was excellent. “They love the changes.”  The people at the table were surprised and proceeded to tell me “horror stories” that never happened. I know because I was there when the horrors supposedly occurred.

This illustrates one of the problems with gossip – it spreads like the plague. No one is sure where gossip comes from or if it is true, but they just keep passing it on and somehow it takes on the power of fact. Also, gossip destroys trust and causes conflicts.  And really…  don’t we all have better things to do and to talk about?

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…

If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, it is necessary, is it kind?” ~ The Buddha

The next time you are tempted to gossip, answer the Buddha’s questions before you speak:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

Share your thoughts or experiences about gossip with us in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of The Boyer Management Group.

 

 

Your Weekly Noodle: June 17, 2015

Man with angel and devil on his shoulders showing the chose of integrity

Integrity is a choice. You make it every time you speak and in everything you do.

Noodle* on this

With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt. ~ Zig Zigler

Integrity is a wonderful thing! Life is simple when we tell the truth, take responsibility for our actions and treat people fairly.  When we choose to live with integrity, we don’t have to remember the lies we told to hide our actions. People trust us because the know we will keep our word. We have better, stronger relationships with our friends, family, and co-workers because we don’t blame them for our mistakes. Integrity also defuses angry situations.

When I worked as a technical writer, I was writing a computer user guide and made a mistake. I left out one feature of the program that was a “nice to have,”  not a “drop dead essential;” but a favorite of the team leader, Matilda. When she reviewed the guide and noticed that her favorite feature was missing, she left an angry voice mail message for me and before I could call her back, there she was in my cubicle, yelling “You made a mistake, you didn’t include the Zippidy Do Da feature.”

I replied, “You are correct. I forgot to include it. I’m sorry. I will have a draft for you to review by this time tomorrow.” Fortunately, it was a simple feature that would be quick easy to write about.

Matilda stood with her mouth open. It took her a moment to figure out what happened. She was all ready for a fight or at least, an excuse. and she didn’t get either.  She took a deep breath, and said  “OK,  I expect to see it tomorrow!” As she walked away, her shoulders appeared to slump. She seemed disappointed.

Buckminster Fuller said that integrity is the essence of everything successful. If we want to be successful in every aspect of our lives, work – family, friends, work, health, finances even our hobbies, we must our lives with integrity.

Your Weekly Noodle* Challenge…
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.  ~ Albert Einstein

Think about the last time you were “careless with the truth.”  What were the consequences?

Share your thought or experiences with integrity in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of BadfortheBrand.com

 

Your Weekly Noodle: June 10, 2015

Trapeeze acrobats practicing, show trust for one another.

Can your family, friends, or co-workers trust you to “catch” them when they are “about to fall?”

Noodle* on this…
Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. ~ Stephen Covey

Once upon a time, I worked for a large corporation, and as often happens, leaders came and went. So, a new director was assigned to the division in which I worked. The first week he called a meeting. Attendance was mandatory, either in person or electronically.

Max, our new director introduced himself. He gave us his educational and professional background; described his management style; and told us a bit about his personal life – married with three children, one starting college and told a couple of jokes. He also gave us the usual pep talk from a new leader – the company goals, “we are all in this together,” etc. Then, he paused. It was a very long pause.

Finally, after looking around the room he said, “I assume that you are all competent, responsible professionals. That is why you are here and I will treat you as such. Each of you has a clean slate with me and I trust you to keep it that way.”

Following Covey’s advice, he was beginning the process of building trust  and the first step is showing that we trust others by giving them the benefit of the doubt. By assuming that people have good intentions and treating them fairly, with dignity, and respect, we give them the safety to be open, honest and to trust us.

We build trust by being open to others and showing that we trust them. This is what organizational development specialists call modeling desired behaviors. 

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any one of those is to lose all three.~ Ziad K. Abdelnour

What have you done this week to build trust, show respect and  loyalty to co-workers, friends, family members and even acquaintances? Are you willing to trust others and give them the benefit of the doubt?

Share your thought or experiences with trust in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Megapapers.

 

Your Weekly Noodle: June 3, 2015

man with beard and tattoo illustratng tereo typing
What is your first impression of this man?**

Noodle* on this…
Stereotypes lose their power when world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit a stereotype, then it begins to fall apart. ~ Ed Koch

Don’t judge a book by its cover. ~ George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)

Last Saturday was project day at my house. So bright and early, I drove to Home Depot to buy the supplies I needed. I parked my car and had just taken a few steps toward the store when  a rough voice shouted “Hey Lady!” I turned around and coming toward me was a large muscular man with a beard and sleeve tattoos on both arms.

I immediately thought “oops, bad news” and I tried to remember if I  had cut him off in traffic or took his parking place.

Dog paw magnet with "Who rescued who?" on itHe stopped in front of me and said, “I just want you to know that my dog rescued me. My sweet little dog Bella saved my life.”

It took me a second to realize that he was talking about the sticker on the back of my car. Suddenly, I relaxed. He wasn’t an angry biker looking for trouble.  He was a fellow dog lover. Talk about stereotyping and judging by appearances. I was guilty as charged.

Together, we walked into the store talking about our wonderful dogs. I learned he was at Home Depot for the same reason I was – a Saturday home project for his family. He even showed me where to find the things I needed. He was a nice man who just happened to have a beard and sleeve tattoos.

As the ancient Greek philosopher Phaedrus wrote, Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many.   When we stereotype people and situations, judging them based on first impression,s we miss the opportunity to discover who they are. I almost missed the opportunity to meet a nice man who helped me out of his appearance.

Two days later, I met a woman who seemed to be “just like me” with the same interests, same socio-economic background, etc., and she turned out to be a major pain in the neck – demanding, rude and impatient.

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
Think about a time you met someone new. What was your first impression?  How did you perceive that person? Maybe you saw him or her as “not like me – dangerous, weird.” Or, it was someone who seemed to be “like you?” How did that perception – that stereotype affect your interaction? What opportunity did you miss or almost miss because of stereotypingMore importantly, what will you do the next time a stereotype pops into your mind? Be prepared! It could happen at any instant.

Share your thoughts with us it the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

** If you think he is a fighter, think again.  He is a model. Image courtesy of D & A Model Management

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