What Do You Get From Complaining and Gossip?

gossip

Will Bowen’s 21-Day complaint free challenge has been getting a lot of media attention lately. It made me wonder why people are finding this challenge so challenging. We, as a society, must be getting something out of complaining or it would be much easier to just stop. How does complaining benefit us?

Both complaining and gossip are two sides of the same coin. Complaining is a means of pushing back against something in our outside world. It is a use of our linear power to assert our will, even agains the will of others. The power comes from getting people to turn against something and forcing change through greater numbers. But can be a lazy form of action, pointing out flaws and hoping others will pick up the cause and actually make the change.

Gossip is a shadow behaviour in the circular world. It often is initiated by a person who has a feeling of disconnection, and s/he generates more disconnection by spreading disconnecting feelings to others. Saying things about other people’s nature or behaviour that is positive is not called gossip. It’s called support.

When complaints and gossip happen at work, they break bonds between co-workers.  As Will Bowen explains, complaint filled workplaces can become toxic, unproductive, miserable places to be.

Harvard Business Review’s article on Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive, sets out a 4-step model to create a culture where relationships are created and maintained without the need to resort to these negative approaches.

We all know neither a culture nor habits are changed over night. Research shows it takes 21 days to break a habit. (Perfect timing for a challenge.) But when we start relating to each other from a positive approach, we will find we are not only more productive, but we also will discover the authentic relationships we’ve been looking for.

Discussion:

What purposes do complaining and gossip serve in your workplace?

What are some positive approaches to belonging and connecting to colleagues you have found successful?

Written By:

Michelle Eades

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Author: Kim Hudson

I enjoy the big picture. This has lead me to explore plate tectonics, the archetypal nature of human beings, or the trend behind a collection of seemingly unrelated moments. I began my working life as a geologist, working in male dominated exploration camps doing everything from dirt bagging to running drill programs. As a result, I'm fascinated with masculine-feminine thinking styles and how both exist in every person, to varying degree.I have also been a Federal Government Land Claims negotiator in the Yukon, and a consultant to First Nations on geologic and environmental issues. I eventually studied writing for film and television. I wrote my first book on the feminine counterpart to the hero archetype, which I give workshops on worldwide including at Raindance Film School in London. I draw upon my work with Western and Oral cultures for my current book The Arrow and the Ring: Activating the Power of Linear and Circular Thinking. I enjoy writing, speaking, workshops and think tanks to understanding the underling drivers and recognizing opportunities for co-creating new possibilities.

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