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Gossip does not resolve conflict

I recently made a deliberate decision to evaluate my relationships. I’d read an inspiring article that changed my perspective on life. I was drawn back to that article when a friend talked to me about toxic relationships characterised by gossip, slander, and negative energy.

We talked about it at length. Our conversation reminded me of a profoundly empowering devotional about how strife creeps into our working relationships when we talk about co-workers behind their backs. It made me evaluate how I use my time.

The devotional, authored by Theology of Work Project, was deeply sobering. I’d like to share excerpts that I found valuable for building healthy relationships.

“Work often brings together people with different skills from different cultural backgrounds. This is good for building a diverse team able to handle many types of challenges. But it often also leads to conflict. How we deal with workplace conflict determines whether we work in a loving environment or an energy-sapping one.

“When we have a conflict with a co-worker we are often tempted to unburden ourselves on some other friendly ear… While we think it will make us feel better, talking maliciously about a co-worker often prolongs a fight rather than resolves it.

“Gossip casts other people in a questionable light by raising doubts about their integrity. The gossiper elevates his or her own status at the expense of others who are not present to speak for themselves. This casts a shadow over anyone else in the office who might as a result of the gossip feel guarded and suspicious.

Instead of ending a conflict, gossip amplifies it.
“A better way of dealing with workplace conflict is laid out in Matthew 18:15-16. If you have an issue with one of your co-workers, it is best to talk it over in person…”

Back to the question: How are you using your time? Evaluate your relationships. Audit your productivity. Confront your inner self. If you spend a lot of time feeding your office neighbour with lamentations and gossip, don’t be surprised if your productivity is questioned.

As Dale Carnegie put it in his aptly titled book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, be intentional. Guard your tongue against gossip and slander. Set daily goals and stay focused to accomplish them. To put it candidly: Stop gossiping, start working. Your productivity will instantly improve.

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