Simple Wisdom Tip #93: Loyalty to the Absent

It seems to be common practice in organizations for employees to complain about a boss or fellow staff member behind his or her back.  Rather than respectfully confronting someone, it’s easier to tell someone else about it, send that person a snippy email (and make it worse by copying others) or complain to the HR unit.  This is destructive and actually cowardly behavior.  The right approach – at least most of the time – is to go directly to the alleged offender and talk it out.


I believe it was Stephen Covey who coined the phrase “loyalty to the absent”.  In other words, not bashing the individual who is not currently in the room.  Imagine what others might think who hear Harry bash Sally.  It might occur to them, “I wonder what Harry is saying about me when I’m not present.  Hmm.”  The solution, of course, is to find ways to constructively confront the other person.  Only that has the potential to bring health and healing to a situation.  Give it a try.