Here’s a powerful question that came in through this blog:
I work in an environment with 24-hour shifts, which creates a lot of social down time. It also gives ample opportunity for an individual to influence others. And sometimes, it is not always a good thing. An example is when an individual will hang around on off-days discussing the goings on of the organization, the leadership and other team members to stir things up and pull others into their negativity.
Where do these types of team members fit in at an organization that, to some degree, has to live with them? As a union-affiliated department, management doesn’t have the direct ability to outright let these individuals go, even though they are aware of their subterfuge.
– Mike, Firefighter
Let me start out by saying, “I despise this type of person!!” He is practicing what author Pat Lencioni calls Passive Sabotage. Now, with that said, I have gossiped before in my life. I have said negative things outside of meetings that I shouldn’t have. But I’ve learned how damaging that can be by watching people like this tear an organization apart. I’ve even had this kind of poison on my team and MAN do I have stories!!!
But to answer your question Mike, there is no place for this person as a leader. I could attack your leadership with what you’ve shared, but I won’t waste the time. They obviously are more concerned about bureaucracy than the unity of the team. So instead, let me say that it is up to you my friend. Yep, you and anyone else who is sick of this person acting this way.
I would start by letting leadership know that you are going to start pushing back on this dude. Trust me, they’ll be relieved. Then, EVERY time this guy has something negative to say, I would respond by telling him and anyone in earshot that this kind of negativity will just tear down the organization. If he doesn’t like it, he can go somewhere else.
You don’t need to gossip with anyone else, but it is OK to let others know that you feel gossip and passive sabotage will destroy the team. And Mike, your kind of work NEEDS the team. Success happens in a team when there is unity. Click to Tweet
I say push back and let him and everyone else know that you don’t want to be a part of it. If there are genuine concerns, let’s all go to leadership to fix them. Stay strong brother, and thank you for your service!
Now, check out the incredible advice of the commenters.
Question: What would YOU do in this situation?