Gossip Matters. Have You Heard The One About Social Survival?
What consistently happens in the tea room, at breaks in conferences and in the car on the way home from work?
Gossip. Humans gossip.
We seemingly take compelling pleasure in talking ill of others and spreading the word about those who are deemed scoundrels, untrustworthy, wasters or downright dangerous.
From an evolutionary standpoint this makes perfect sense. (Gossip and its part in human evolution is a scientific theory by the way).
Humans thrive and have dominated via social interaction and in those interdependent relationships we need to know who is, or, is not to be trusted, who is reliable and who will keep their word. Knowing those things helped keep us safe, collaborate and ensured our survival.
When working with Teams it’s important to recognise the underlying nature of human behavior. At some evolutionary level, we are constantly evaluating who is to be trusted, who is going to shaft us, who now that is ‘with us’, could quite easily shift to being ‘against’ us.
It’s inevitable that whilst all this evaluating is going on – that we will make mistakes, judgements of error and then communicate those mistakes to a wider audience. That is why High Performing Teams regularly create space to validate gossip, to counter misinformation and fill gaps in communication with facts not fiction.
It’s called maintenance, relationship maintenance. Without maintenance all machines and organisms eventually break down – now I do know that for a fact.
(PS Have you heard the latest on old Geoff in Estimating…?)