December 26, 2011

Free to move forward

We're in Jerusalem right now amidst incredbile history at the epicentre of the three major religions of the world.

Besides the historical significance and beauty of the city, we have experienced many perspectives on everything from the current conflict, to religion and life in general. 

The other evening, we had dinner at the home of friends who are very religious orthodox Jews and I learned something quite interesting and important that can be applied to leadership, relationships, family and parenting.

It is the effect that gossip has on our lives. 

The people we were with are part of a community that do not gossip.It is one of the basic laws of Judaism that they adhere to. Even to the extent that they do not have negative thoughts about others. If they do have these thoughts on the rare occassion, they keep them to themselves.  

Truth. 

Conversations centre around ideas, possibilities, interests, etc. versus people. You know who are your friends and who aren't. They'll let you know straight, versus smiling to your face and talking behind your back.

What's really worth noting is the impact on their kids. They don't experience the level of insecurities kids feel growing up in our society. Even teenagers. 

They know who are their friends and who aren't, without the backstabbing behaviours we've all witnessed and experienced ourselves growing up. Instead, their kids are part of a community that supports and nurtures them, leaving them free to focus on what they are passionate about and interested in for their future.

They are free to move forward.

Imagine working in an environment where formal and informal communications build communities and support the future success of all involved.

Imagine living and working around people who respect what you are up to. Who will stick around for the hard times and even offer support, and also be happy to share in the good times. Even people you barely know. 

Gossip is a killer. It isolates people, derails strategies and undermines leadership. 

Gossip is picked up by our brain as uncertainty which triggers a threat response, driving stress and curtailing performance.

What if you eliminated gossip from your corporate or family culture? What becomes possible when a group of people cease to nitpick about each other but instead focus on building a collective successful future? 

It's not a pipe dream. Companies and communities around the world do this. It is awesome to see it in practice.

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