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Dealing with gossip in the workplace – Dogs don’t bark at parked cars

BarkingDogA professional colleague is understandably very proud of certain significant successes that he has recently achieved in several areas of his business. However, as he told a group of us several weeks ago, his one disappointment is that someone whom he considered to be a good friend has publicly criticized and disparaged his recent accomplishments. He believes that this reaction is driven by envy and spite, and he is, not surprisingly, frustrated and saddened by his so-called friend’s actions.

“You know, in the Bahamas we have a saying,” said one of our group sitting at the table. “Dogs don’t bark at parked cars.” As we all looked up with interest, he explained further. “You never see a dog chasing a parked car, do you? The only reason you are a target for this person is because you are making giant strides and going to winning places! If you weren’t climbing to great heights, then there would be no reason for him to try and knock you down. Take his malicious actions as a compliment and as an affirmation of your success.”

Wise words indeed! It got me thinking about similar workplace situations where I have seen people get upset and hurt by gossip and back-biting. Perhaps this phrase is all they need to help them put things back in perspective. What about you? Have you experienced such situations? Please share by adding to the Comments link below.

6 thoughts on “Dealing with gossip in the workplace – Dogs don’t bark at parked cars

  1. Great message about the way that some people react to the success of others. One of the key characteristics of leadership is having a set of values that reflect the way a leader behaves and acts. Effective leaders “walk the talk” with their values, they live them. When others respond in a negative way to the successes of others, it’s a reflection of their values.

    Failure to recognize the importance of ones values is a sign of an immature leader or someone that simply isn’t a leader. In today’s environment where people have mobility and options, they won’t follow people with divergent values. Successful leaders use them to guide their decisions and actions; they also allow them to be leaders of others that have similar values.

  2. Consider the whole picture in this situation. Focus on the positive outcomes. Sometimes with a picture, there is a small flaw. There is the temptation to point it out. More can be gained by enjoying the remainder of the picture that is pleasing to the eye. You choose which aspect that you want to invest your valuable time in!

  3. Jim, as usual, you are bang on! When people (leaders included) find it necessary to pull others down in order to lift themselves up, it truly is a reflection of their own lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

  4. Linda, I guess in many ways it’s like the glass is half empty vs. the glass is half-full kind of people. Far better (and more productive) to focus on the positives rather than the negatives!

  5. A great line with innumerable applications. My experience in public office was often challenging, especially by those whose focus was to avoid much change. How often the line heard was “let’s wait and see”. How I wished to retort with “courage is the ability to let go of the familiar”! Hmmmm

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