Smart Strategy

Don’t bite the negative talk bait

Awkward conversations at the workplace need to be dealt with tactfully. And while you do enjoy a bit of gossip that the manager shares with you, hearing them talk negatively about the company or your workplace can be a tricky thing.

Don’t bite the negative talk bait

laxmi@tribune.com

Jappreet Sethi 

Awkward conversations at the workplace need to be dealt with tactfully. And while you do enjoy a bit of gossip that the manager shares with you, hearing them talk negatively about the company or your workplace can be a tricky thing. In such situations, you must respond carefully and wisely. Agreeing to negative comments about your workplace reflects poorly on you  and it also reflects a disruptive and destructive attitude.

So how can you handle such a situation without spoiling relationships? Here are a few tips:

Introspect but don’t comment

As a rule of thumb, the best way to tackle the situation would be to suppress your own feelings. You may be agreeing with the negative comments, but it doesn’t mean that you should add fuel to the fire. Remember commenting or making a negative statement about your workplace can be a one-way ticket to getting fired. 

Don’t be a tattletale 

While it is tempting to probably report this to a senior and score a brownie point, do evaluate the situation before doing so. Your manager may be talking negatively about the workplace due to a recent event or some incident that provoked a negative result. It would not be fair to judge them on a one-time basis. Evaluate if this is actually a regular affair or has been happening recently. You should give your manager a chance to explain this negative attitude.

Try talking to them

Talking to them about this issue may be a good idea. You can gather some facts on your own and check if the statements made by the manager are true or not. Based on this evaluation, you can try talking to them and help them see the positive side of things. You should tell them that this negative attitude is going to have an adverse impact on all colleagues and this, in turn, could hinder their career. There’s no harm in trying!

Do keep yourself safe

By not making comments and walking out of the conversation, you can avoid being a part of this defamation process. But many firms do consider it the moral duty of the employee to report such incidents. 

If the need arises, talk to a trusting colleague or senior. There is a chance that the situation may get out of hand, especially if the badmouthing is not stopping, you can consider talking to the boss. 

Recently, a global compamy fired an employee for posting negative comments about the company on a social media site. And while this topic remains debatable, even the minutest of things could put your career in jeopardy.

Remember there are legal repercussions to badmouthing the company, and the last thing you want to do is get caught in this menace for no fault of your own. 

While you don’t want your manager to get into trouble, badmouthing the place of work should not be ignored.

Walk out of the conversation

Make an excuse and slip out or get away from the conversation. Give the nod or a shrug to the manager and say “Oh, I just remembered this…” and move away. It may not save you every time, but it will also give a subtle hint to the manager that you do not wish to be a part of such negative gossip.

— The writer is an HR & strategy consultant www.humanresourcesblog.in

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