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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Workplace Dynamics: Handling Gossip and Bullying

While this clip is short and I can’t find the rest to continue on to see if Hussein Wehbe shares some tips on tackling this, I always find it refreshing to see clear, concise content calling out #gossip, #backbiting and #bullying - and how to #defusebullying - this time in #Arabic with subtitles too.👌

Time and again I see that what he says is spot on in the instances referenced. In sum:

#Gossip is insidious and a form of #bullying with different purposes:

1️⃣💣 Throwing negative rumours around about a good employee (or classmate) in order to effect specific change of some kind, for example salary cuts or changes to their job (or privileges in the classroom)

2️⃣💣 Throwing negative rumours specifically at management, to cause them to worry or be suspicious about an employee who is in fact very productive - Hussein Wehbe specifies the cause of this as: #jealousy. I think also that this one is usually about the gossip spreader wanting to look fabulous in front of senior management by throwing shade elsewhere (or a student wanting to win favour of the teacher) - but it comes with many dangers. Not least #karma, which always has its ways.

What do you do when you hear bad things being said about someone?

In many cases opting out of the conversation is not an option.

I try to get both - sometimes multiple - sides of a story and observing patterns in a person, from their past and over time before I make a judgment or take strong action.

I also query why someone is telling me specific information about another person: what is their motivation in sharing this information? What seed is being planted by sharing this information? Does the energy feel negative or positive? Is it information for the team or class’s benefit or detriment?

Sometimes I even ask the person outright: what do you hope to achieve by speaking this negatively about someone else, when they are not here to speak for themselves? Would you say the same if they were sat nearby or in front of you?

A straightforward action of course is not to entertain the gossip. Yet I find it is often useful to pay attention, lean in, look the gossiper in the eye and ask some serious and strategic questions about who and what is being discussed in a negative light, and more importantly - why - as shared above.

If you are witnessing gossiping in a group, done by others, asking yourself some of these questions - even if you don’t say them out loud - is another way to keep your moral compass and integrity in check when negative rumours are being spread in front of you.


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