“Lend me your Ears” is a coinage borrowed from William Shakespear, but is being used as title to this piece, by the scribe, in a totally different context, than what the bard had implied!
Men, wrongfully believe they can mask their inner persona. Deception here to their chagrin is not a possibility. Nature by its inherent purity starts to expose the inner thoughts to the world at large. Deceit, is not an available option. No amount of pretense or camouflage can hide the positive or the negative sentiment that is at work in a human mind at any point of time. It just oozes out of the person.
Emerson captures this humanly uncontrollable aspect in the following words, and these are so true and apt: There is full confession in the glances of our eyes; in our smiles; in salutations; in the grasp of hands. His sin bedaubs him, mars all his good impression. Men know not why they do not trust him, but they do not trust him. His vice glasses his eyes, demeans his cheek, pinches the nose, sets the mark on the back of the head and writes, “O” fool! Fool! On the forehead of a king (read here, manager).
Next time anyone approaches you (leader/manager) evaluate whatever insinuation, he or she is making about co-workers, through the lens of Emerson quote; you may discover, “truth”. A Chinese proverb is, what is told in the ear of a man is often heard a hundred miles away. If it is Nile that needs to know, then know that deserts will know it too.
Information is not fact. This is something we all know, so well; thanks to the influence of the uncontrollable media. The job of a manager is to, upon receipt of any information, establish its veracity and credentials. Further, the information load must be sifted to differentiate between its relevance and irrelevance, to the manger or to the organization. This then needs to be followed up with a decisive approach of what of it is important and what is not.
No colleague should burden his / her supervisor with unnecessary and uncorroborated information, especially that which isn’t in any manner helpful for organizations growth or well being. Those who indulge into provoking their supervisors with false, concocted and unsubstantiated information run the major risk of being discarded as a trouble maker; but regrettably, due to human weakness, often the manager’s action of jettisoning such colleague from the team is late; sometimes no action is taken. A manager must be mindful of colleagues who are lavish with their tongue.
Managers, mostly, are weak and vulnerable to corporate gossip. Based on hear-say, they can begin to, at the drop of the hat, blow hot and cold, leading up to changing their management styles, which really, often do not require any change. The action to gossip is usually highly reactive. This unbridled response to what may not be true, is usually to the manager’s own peril.
Be cognisant of the boss who is a self proclaimed victim to being believer of everything he hears; he is also easily influenced by all the “whisperings of the winds of gossip”. Such managers lose their shirt, without doing any personal analysis of the information hurled at them, with intent to provoke.
Human behavior that has not been recipient to any positive training will always minimize the strengths, qualities and skills of his perceived corporate rival (enemy in extreme cases of corporate insanity) and will exaggerate the small faults, weakness and shortcomings.
Why do managers lend their ears? Only the weak and insecure, do so. The purpose is to follow the policy of discovering any rebellious thoughts or actions, that may put his own position into jeopardy. To protect his turf, a wily manager will use the hatchet to separate the head from the rest of a colleague’s anatomy; and most do to consolidate their hold over the organization; and also to silence those who may be venturing in thought only to be rebels.
The tattlers only chase the successful. Losers get no attention from this lot - invariably the tattler is part of this lot. A manager who has this vulgar, despicable and abhorrent trait of belittling colleagues, competitors and any other formidable challenger with potential to be a threat to them, now or in the future, will ruin their careers with subtle whispers, that target the colleagues abilities, skills, competencies and some go to the meanest level of attacking integrity, personal and professional, that again can range from moral to financial turpitude.
In any organization, depending upon the peculiarity of their respective culture, there are more provocateurs than those who have or are possessed of the positive energy to douse, the flames of distrust between team members. As managers don’t lend ears to those who specialize in widening the trust deficit within teams/ organizations. An ill - tongue damages more than a bullet in the chest.
Slander in the corporate corridors exists because of the protection, the slanderers receive at the hands of the frustrated, suspicions and weak managers / management. Anybody can have and possess great unmatchable skills to deceive the world; but it is also true that no man has the ability to deceive himself. Hence, over a period of time this class exposes itself.
The slogan of the “traders of gossip” is, there is no smoke without fire. Whenever a colleague comes to your office and begins with, “they say so”, know that a half lie is being baked for you to swallow. Whenever there is a remark like, “I heard so ……”, it is a perfect case of lying….. gossip and lying are eternal friends. Set aside the manufacturers of false news, instead of lending ears to the envious, jealous and disgruntled. Action taken based on hear-say, firstly will have no locus standi and secondly, they will invariably back fire.
I view whistle blowing, as a definitive encouragement to the corrupt and sleazy workers to snoop for information. This is done at a cost to their set of responsibilities. In this pursuit, I have come across such individuals who stoop to the meanest and lowest depths of slimy behavior. What these vulgar Vasco-de gama’s and Columbuses do, in the organization, is to discover, what doesn’t exist- not even the East Indies! The minimum action against false flag should be immediate dismissal. Any whistle blowing policy should enunciate clearly that the organization objective is not altered by the existence of this policy, and that the intention is not to convert the entity into the famously infamous, CIA, FBI, KGB or our own local versions of the same. The collaboration between bad tongues and wicked ears must be found and put to death, at first discovery.
Those weak leaders who give ear to the chatterer must know, that he will someday chatter about him to someone else. Back biters receive promotion and encouragement from those who listen to them with glee and enthusiasm. This creed of individuals, speak ill of all, with no exceptions. It is not necessary to create unfavorable impression about anyone in the organization that is based on truth, it merely has to be concocted and said.
With a deep sense of apology to the great bard, William Shakespeare, from whose drama, the title of this piece is borrowed, I am altering, Marc Antony’s Speech in “Julius Ceasar”, where he says after Ceaser’s burial and Brutus’s speech, “friends(foes), Romans(leader & managers), countrymen(colleagues), lend me your ears. I come to bury Ceasar(named colleague) not to praise him…..”(the bracketed are this scribe’s alterations). I shall not change the words that follow in Antony’s speech; because the basic element of thought in this portion, is often forgotten by those lending the ears…… “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones”. No good manager puts faith in tale-bearers.
In conclusion, Lord Almighty says in the Glorious and Noble, Holy Quran, Chapter Al-Hujurat (the inner apartments), “O’you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done” (verse:6)
The writer is a freelance columnist