Sowing seeds of discontent

E.S. writes:

Dear Paul:

Most of the people who live in our condo building are nice, mind their own business and are not afraid to lend a helping hand when someone needs it. There are a few, however that sow the seeds of discontent behind the scenes by making disparaging remarks against the board. How can we stop this type of behaviour?

Paul replies:

Dear E.S.:

I am sorry you have to endure this type of behaviour in your community. Unfortunately, a condo development reflects society in general. I am glad that you are not one of these gossips that know-it all. Scientists should invent a vaccine that prevents people from speaking ill of others. Here are a few tips you can use to at least interrupt some of their comments and get them to realize that their chatter is not useful.

If you are in a group where these comments are made, ask these individuals to explain why they are making these assertions. Do it gently in a non-confrontational manner. You might discover that in many instances the comments have no factual basis behind them. People often speak in what I call “conclusion statements”. An example of such a comment could be when we label someone a troublemaker. When asked how we have come to this conclusion, we may be hard pressed to describe what was done or not done to lead us to that conclusion.

Many comments are made based on hearsay. Person A on the fifth floor, told person B on the third floor that person C on the second floor did such and such. Like the telephone game where the person whispers a message to the second person and so on and so forth in a group of a dozen people, the message is no longer the same at the end of the line.

Invite the naysayers to meet with your board to express their thoughts and feelings. Since most fear to speak up, they may stop for a while, or at least when you are around. Invite them to get involved and participate in making the changes they wish would happen. When given the opportunity to lead or contribute to the actions they are criticizing they may see things differently. It is a case of “putting their money where their mouth is”.

“A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talked to each other instead of talk about each other.”

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dyke Eric

    Paul, I am really enjoying your q and a’s Great job and thanks for providing this info to all. It very valuable for any condo owner.

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