Leaders must make essential decisions for the health of the organizations they run. Leaders in any leadership position must also know how to maneuver untruths or false perceptions of the people they lead. One challenge a leader faces is that of triangulation in work environments.
What is workplace triangulation (WT)?
Workplace triangulation includes a three-point gossip-infused type of relationship in the workplace. It consists of persons A, B, and C. For WT to be actionable, Person A complains to Person C about Person B without going to person B directly. Person A toward Person B starts a circle of influence from a psychological footprint, often resulting in significant damage in the workplace, which intentionally builds a false perception of workplace culture.
In most cases, triangulation is not intentional. It happens when some individuals are at a loss on how to proceed relating to specific employee-to-employee issues. Even so, it does not create a cohesive work environment.
Triangulation may not always be gossip. It may start with a bad attitude, constant complaining, ignoring other employees when addressed, venting, and in some cases, I have experienced defensive attitudes and even circumstances of gaslighting. It is delivered in a more astute way when it is deliberate, which allows the receiver to start thinking less positively, say toward Person B. It is a zealous form of bullying in the workplace stamped with expressive body and verbal expressions. The leader who can recognize this behavior must halt it immediately and possibly follow up with some of these suggestions:
- A leader must always be in the mindset that there is more to what is being said.
- Schedule a meeting with you—the leader, and the persons involved. If no solution, then
- Include Human Resources (HR) to help to mediate the situation.
- Understand and study the personality of person A. Take note always to cover yourself and conversations with person A. Do this to ensure that this behavior does not eventually come to you. Keep everything in writing, and never speak with this individual alone. Always have a witness in the room.
- Lastly, uphold your leadership skills by remaining calm and follow company guidelines relating to matters such as these.
Triangulation in the workplace is harmful and prevents any organization from upholding its innate culture. Be vigilant and always practice emotional intelligence in every circumstance.