My Opinion: We Need To Stop The Backbiting



Dear Readers:

Last week, I had an interesting exchange with a vendor who was working with a planner I knew very well (she didn’t know this). We were speaking about the industry and I was sharing my excitement to attend Engage next month when she stopped me in mid-conversation and offered some salacious detail about this planner. I was stunned. It was so out-of-the-blue that it seemed as though she had a motive that had been in her mind since she started the conversation. I don’t know if the information had a morsel of truth correct or not, but knowing this planner, I am sure that what was handed over had been mangled within an inch of any initial truth there might have been. That’s when the vendor followed up with a casual mention that she was moving into planning, and if I ever needed someone, she would love to work with me. I couldn’t help but to feel sad for this lady. Not only did she destroy any chance of our working together, she ruined her own reputation with her decision to “go there” as they say.

In my 36 years in this business, I have learned that reputation is everything, and when you you have a good one, people who hear untrue negative things about you will take them with a grain of salt while taking into account the character (or lack thereof) of the person spilling “secrets”. I understand that everyone likes a slice of juicy gossip, especially when it is about someone who is well known and/or very successful, but what is the risk in being the person who serves it, or worse, serves it to serve themselves?

I have long said that there is room for all of us in this industry and we will all get ahead faster and do better work if we collaborate and challenge one another rather than compete and criticize. It is my opinion that we should honor ourselves by honoring one another more.

What do you think? Have you ever seen this kind of back-biting? How do you handle it when someone shares this kind of information with you?