One of the passions in my life is politics. I have been involved in different political campaigns in various ways. Politics are rife with rumors, this week there have been rumors about Mitt Romney’s finances, Newt Gingrich’s matrimonial arrangement and what Michelle Obama really eats for supper.
Rumors are part of our lives, they affect companies, finances, political campaigns and, your career. In a recent study by European consultants ISR, 67% of employees hear important information first through a rumor. Companies that were poor in rumor management were less profitable. It’s just good business, to have good rumor literacy.
So what is a rumor? Nicholas Defonzo author of The Watercooler Effect explains, “Rumors are simply collective intelligence in the face of uncertainty. Rumors are fundamental phenomenon of social beings. We need them to help each other to understand changes in our world.” The role of Twitter, Facebook and the large amount of sudden change, we need to manage, leverage and protect ourselves from the power of rumours. Listen to my conversation with Nicholas here.
Learning how to manage rumors in a workplace is not only an important skill; it reduces stress, increases employee morale and impacts shareholder value.
What is the best way to deal with a rumor when you hear about it?
1. Suspend belief – Give the person the benefit of the doubt at the start. This is hard to do as we all have biases.
2. Carefully check – Get the facts and try and get as many alternative views.
3. Come to your own conclusion – It is important to make a decision one way or the other on your own opinion, be aware of the influence of the group.
4. Take time and listen – Refrain from spreading the rumor until you have gone through the first 3 steps.
Lastly Nick shared, “Understanding rumors means becoming kinder, nobler, more discerning, more helpful, more humble, sharper in our thinking and more charitable in our feelings. It means having a greater appreciation for the truth. If rumors is something we do, we should do it well“
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Spreading rumors, along the road with you!
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