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3大高招清理职场情绪病毒

Cali Ressler/Jody Thompson 2013年11月29日

办公室里总是蜚短流长,很多人甚至故意靠踩别人来抬高自己。放任这种情绪病毒扩散就会不断强化一种观念,认为只有循规蹈矩,惟命是从才是好员工。但是,要打造高效而又富有创造力的工作氛围,就必须及时清理这些负面的情绪,打破成见,允许人们拥有更多的自主权。

    你肯定说过下面列出的某句话,而且曾承受过它所带来的伤害。

    • “早上好。你终于来加入我们了,真好!”

    • “他午饭总是吃很长时间。”

    • “真希望我能每天4:30下班……肯定很棒!”

    • “他在自己的工位上呆过吗?”

    • “每周五在家工作肯定棒极了。”

    • “她好像请病假去逛街了。”

    • “哇,她又回家照顾生病的孩子了。我得赶紧生个孩子。”

    这些话听着耳熟吗?我们把它们叫做“负面言论”。

    负面言论就是工作场所的闲言碎语,而且它们会不断强化这样一种观点——人们不配被赋予自主权。我们在开发“只问结果的工作环境”(ROWE)时发现,对于一个高效、创意和令人满意的工作场所来说,负面言论是最顽固、影响最大的障碍。负面言论可能是卑鄙的闲言碎语,也可能是友好的打趣。我们会因为许多原因传播负面言论(既是名词,也是动词),但这些言论最终会直接或间接地导致不按“常规方式”上班的同事感到羞辱。

    负面言论是维持现状的一种强大的力量,意味着只有朝九晚五呆在办公室里才叫工作。负面言论依据下面的公式:

    结果 = 时间 + 实体存在

    这种公式实际是工业经济时代的产物。在工业经济时代,个人被当作可以替换的工厂部件对待。而在创意经济时代,新的公式应该是:结果 = 结果。句号。

    令人难以置信的是,这种观念到现在依然是一种革命性的理念。领导者可能会说,他们希望公司所有人都充满想象力、精神饱满、富有激情,但他们却很少会去清除这些有害的负面言论。负面言论在不断强化这样的观点——不按常规方式工作的人要么是没有尽职,要么是在利用制度漏洞。而在只问结果的工作环境中,每一位员工都拥有同样多的自主权和责任。像个成年人一样做好自己的工作。就是这么简单。

    以前尘土飞扬的工作场所可能正在慢慢消失,但即使是出于最好的本意,我们也可能会形成一些有害的趋势,结果为工厂思维提供了生存的土壤。如何清除这些有害趋势?这里有三条建议。

    1. 留神负面言论

    首先,你会听到一些显而易见的言论。你会听到某位同事似乎毫无恶意的言论(“你今天加入我们,真是太好了。”),你认为这是负面言论。进而,你自以为发现了所谓的“背后负面言论”(即在某人背后发表负面言论)。这种关于某位同事的负面言论是在他不在场的情况下出现的。

    同事甲:“史蒂夫怎么得到升职的?他连公司公司都没来过。”

    同事乙:“我知道,就算他来,他也总是迟到,而且中午饭吃很长时间。”

    你:“他每周二花很长时间吃午饭,完事之后还要慢跑,对吧?笑死人了。”

    负面言论听的越多,你会发现,各种微妙的版本不仅围绕在你周围,而且你正在成为这些言论的源头。

    You've dished it out before, and you've taken it.

    • "Well, good morning. Nice of you to finally join us!"

    • "He's always taking long lunches."

    • "Wish I could leave at 4:30 every day...must be nice!"

    • "Is he ever at his desk?"

    • "Sure must be great to work from home every Friday."

    • "Seems like she uses all her sick days to go shopping."

    • "Oh, she's home with a sick kid...again. I need to get myself a kid."

    Do any of these phrases sound familiar? We call this "sludge."

    Sludge is the workplace chatter that reinforces the idea that people can't be trusted with autonomy. We identified sludge as one of the most powerful and persistent barriers to a productive, creative, and fulfilling workplace when we were developing the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). Sludge can be mean-spirited gossip or even friendly banter. We sludge (it's a noun and a verb) for many reasons, but it's ultimately meant to either directly or indirectly shame a coworker for not approaching work the way it's "supposed" to be approached.

    Sludge is a powerful force in maintaining the status quo and implies that work only happens at the office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It follows the formula:

    Results = Time + Physical Presence.

    That formula is a relic of an industrial economy that treated individuals as interchangeable factory parts. In the creative economy, the new formula is: Results = Results. Period.

    It's hard to believe that this is still a revolutionary concept. Leaders might say they want the full imagination, energy, and passion of every person in the organization, but they do little to clear out the toxic sludge that reinforces the idea that anyone who operates outside of the prescribed norms is either goofing off or taking advantage of the system. In a results-only work environment, every employee has equal parts autonomy and accountability. Own your work and get it done like an adult. It's that simple.

    The dusty workplace of old may be slowly crumbling, but even those of us with the best intentions still have some toxic tendencies that keep the factory mentality alive. Here are three things you can do to clean it out of your lives.

    1. Listen for sludge

    At first, you'll hear the obvious. You'll hear what seems to be an innocent comment from a coworker ("How nice of you to join us today.") and you'll recognize it as sludge. Then you'll recognize in yourself what we call a "back sludge" conversation (as in, sludging behind someone's back). This is the sludge that's spewed about a co-worker who isn't within earshot:

    One coworker: "How is Steve getting a promotion? He's never even here."

    Another coworker: "I know and when he is here, he takes long lunches and comes in late."

    You: "And what about the jogs he takes after his long lunches on Tuesdays? That's getting ridiculous."

    The more you listen for sludge, the more you'll start to hear all of the subtle versions of it not just around you, but from you.

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