Personal Finance

Don’t worry, a gossiping executive lacks the spine

One needs a steadying and extremely calming buffer when there is a state of total flux and chaos at the workplace. PHOTO | FILE
So, perhaps rather than spend time trying to change your gossiping boss, you might try to spend more time delivering on your mandate at the work place. PHOTO | FILE 

I was once reduced to a heap in laughter when a teenage girl addressed me on the subject of gossip. Like knowledge, she claimed, it soon dies if not shared.

This led me to wonder what gossip and knowledge might have in common and was surprised to learn that they can, and do often co-exist, sometimes very happily.

As the old saying goes, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds (like your boss) discuss people.”
What you are telling us is that you have a boss with a small mind now irritating you by doing what small minds do best: gossip.

Paulo Coelho stated: “Don’t waste your time with explanations, people (gossips) only hear what they want to hear.” Put this way then your attitude to your boss has to be pity not anger or frustration.

I can see your boss at work. In addition to being a gossip champion, he is a total under-achiever, who has landed the job he now holds, either because of parentage, or by some other shortcut society might have put his way. He is totally lacking in humility and talks a great deal about himself.

As the gossip gets heavier and deeper, he adds details about himself. He will talk of places he has been to, shops from which he has bought his suits and ties and the German car he has just ordered.

He will talk (often loudly) about his conquests of beautiful women, and the shares he has bought and how they have appreciated.

He will have many disparaging remarks about anybody and everybody who is not in the vicinity, just the way he talks about you when you are not there.

He has his hands in everybody’s business and is gratuitous with his advice on all manner of subjects, from child-rearing, marriage, and the state of the US and world economy. There is no subject about which he can confess lack of knowledge.

All the people around him, politicians, teachers, the clergy are all, in his eyes, useless and have much to learn (from him).

His curiosity about the affairs of others is another defining characteristic. Which girl got engaged, who beat his wife and which company is about to go bust.

He is totally blind to contradictions in his own life history and journey to where he is today. He will make claims to having been to schools, universities and jobs about which no independent verification is possible.

For most people, the answer as to where one went to high school or university is a simple one and followed by names of fellow classmates.

For your gossip boss, the past is full of gaps that he hides by telling yet another piece of gossip about some other couple or company. His family, schoolmates and others who might know him from earlier days are all missing in action. Nobody seems to know anything about his past.

I do not know what business you and your boss are in but it is possible that you are in a setting where sales is an important activity. For many such people, the truth comes out only by accident. Lies and half-truths are the order of the day.

They never make mistakes, and any errors are made by others who are inevitably described as stupid and lazy. He is the only one who works hard and is clever.

I see your boss so clearly. His light shines brightly only because he has put out the spotlights of others. He will become great because he has demolished all those around him. Gossip then becomes a tool of destroying those who have a contribution to society to make. Jealousy drives such men.

So, for you, after you have studied and understood this spineless caricature of a man, you have a duty to pity him, and if that way inclined, to pray for him because chances are that he will end up badly.

Remember that your reputation in society and in the company is what others think about you, and is based on the kind of outputs you have at the workplace and in society in general.

You and your maker are the true judges of your character. So, as you might know by now, a rumour gets round the world long before the truth has had time to put on its shoes.

Your mandate

Tell your boss, if he will listen, of the old Spanish proverb, “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.” Sadly, it might all be lost to your intellectual dwarf of a boss.

So, perhaps rather than spend time trying to change your gossiping boss, you might try to spend more time delivering on your mandate at the work place.

Chances are that he will move on to the next “victim” and gossip about you and your lack of patience in all relationships and that is perhaps why he now hears that your husband is about to leave you for your house girl. And so the gossiping continues.