Monday, March 09, 2009

What's Your Label?

It may be grossly unfair that people in organizations place labels on individuals but it happens. Think of how often you've seen the following labels dispensed in the workplace:

  • Complainer
  • Rising Star
  • Incompetent
  • Big Talker
  • Slob
  • Harasser
  • Flirt
  • Geek
  • Recluse
  • Maverick
  • Manipulator
  • Genius

Those are just a few and they need not have any strong connection to reality in order to stick. [I've run across some workers with the Incompetent label who were quite able.] All that is required is for someone with influence to ascribe the label and then the sealing process begins.

This not only limits the victim; it also narrows the perception of those who deal with the person. The Complainer may have some valid points about a particular problem, but once the label has been applied, many listeners will be too quick to dismiss those points.

The standard warnings about gossiping should also include cautions against the use of labels. A person who has earned an especially negative label should be turned around or turned out. Keeping the person on board with the equivalent of The Scarlet Letter does no one any good.

There are some labels for organizations that permit this. They aren't very complimentary.

1 comment:

Eclecticity said...

Book it! E.