职场英语:3招远离“情绪病毒” 远离负能量
发布时间:2014-01-13 19:23

职场英语:3招远离“情绪病毒” 远离负能量

You've dished it out before, and you've taken it.


• "He's always taking long lunches."


• "Wish I could leave at 4:30 every day...must be nice!"


• "Seems like she uses all her sick days to go shopping."


• "Oh, she's home with a sick kid...again. I need to get myself a kid."


Do any of these phrases sound familiar? We call this "sludge."


Sludge is the workplace chatter that reinforces the idea that people can't be trusted with autonomy. We identified sludge as one of the most powerful and persistent barriers to a productive, creative, and fulfilling workplace when we were developing the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). Sludge can be mean-spirited gossip or even friendly banter. We sludge for many reasons, but it's ultimately meant to either directly or indirectly shame a coworker for not approaching work the way it's "supposed" to be approached.


Here are three things you can do to clean the sludges out of your lives.


1. Listen for sludge


At first, you'll hear the obvious. You'll hear what seems to be an innocent comment from a coworker ("How nice of you to join us today.") and you'll recognize it as sludge. Then you'll recognize in yourself what we call a "back sludge" conversation (as in, sludging behind someone's back). This is the sludge that's spewed about a co-worker who isn't within earshot:


One coworker: "How is Steve getting a promotion? He's never even here."


Another coworker: "I know and when he is here, he takes long lunches and comes in late."


You: "And what about the jogs he takes after his long lunches on Tuesdays? That's getting ridiculous."


The more you listen for sludge, the more you'll start to hear all of the subtle versions of it not just around you, but from you.


2. Point it out


When you hear these toxic phrases pop up in conversation, politely point it out to the person saying it. Don't let yourself or someone else feel guilty or judged by an outdated standard. We live in an amazing time where many of us (one day, maybe all of us) can own our work and live by the results we achieve, not the desk-time we put in at the office. Stand up and rebel against the system, don't be a party to it. The accountant who has worked all night on a deadline shouldn't get shamed by their coworker for "coming in late" and the mom who leaves the office at 3 p.m. to attend her daughter's ballet recital shouldn't be questioned by nosy cubicle neighbors about why she's leaving "early."


An easy way to redirect the conversation when you hear such negative talk is to say, "Is there something you need?" For example, someone sees you leaving at 2 p.m. and says "2:00? Where are you headed so early?" Your response: "Is there something you need?" Sludge is stopped dead in its tracks and the conversation is back to results. Or, if a coworker says to you, "Did you see Allison come in at 10 a.m. again today?" Your response: "Did you need something from her?" Back sludge averted. On to more important matters.


3. Don't sludge to make yourself look good


Sludge gives traditional office dwellers the chance to make themselves look like hard-working, valuable employees, regardless of how well they're actually performing. Don't be that guy who throws a coworker under the bus for being 15 minutes "late" or for not approaching work exactly like you do. Focus on results and if you need to make yourself look good, then own your work, think harder about your customers, your company, and making progress for them.


Working on a team without sludge is liberating. Guilt evaporates. Productivity increases.


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