Very often others are talked about without them being present – office grapevine, gossip…

If the statements are negative or on the level of identity such as: “He is …”, “She is …”, then two negative effects arise.


1. There is a violation of systemic law, namely exclusion of the person being talked about, and it is not respectful

2. The interpretation loop – “glasses” is passed on. This means that one person wears “red glasses” and tells the other person who wore “blue glasses” before the conversation. After the conversation, the person then wears a combination of glasses, e.g. “purple glasses” over the person who is not present.

These “purple glasses” can lead to the fact that it has never been good before or that even when getting to know each other, it can no longer be good thanks to the “purple glasses”.

Usually, bosses obtain information about a new employee from the previous department or employer. Behind this is a positive intention for the boss and the company to be able to make a decision or to prepare themselves. Nevertheless, this can lead to a slight prejudice and thus have a negative influence on getting to know each other.

Another typical example from the world of work for exclusion and a change in “glasses” is when an employee has a conflict with his colleague and goes to his superior without informing his colleague in advance. The colleague feels ignored and a loss of trust or even distrust occurs.

Example Escalation Management: Escalation management is a process in which the responsibility for a decision is transferred in a controlled manner to the hierarchically higher level (superiors) if no agreement can be reached in a conflict situation at the lower decision-making levels. It presupposes that the parties to the conflict are each informed that the situation is escalating.

If two employees have a conflict and one of them goes to the boss for a solution, he must inform the other employee in advance that he will contact the superior in order to comply with the first system law “Right to belong (no exclusion)”.



The boss should first of all ask the employee if his colleague knows that he is presenting the topic to the boss. If not, i.e. there is an exclusion, the boss should not discuss the topic, but the exclusion should be lifted first. However, if the boss listens to the topic, he also excludes the employee and partly receives the “glasses” of the employee.

In summary, the optimal procedure to avoid exclusion is

1. One employee informs the other that he/she is going to see the boss on the subject.

2. the boss asks whether the other employee is informed.

3. the boss talks to both of them together.

The same procedure is to be followed when it comes to escalation over hierarchical levels.


If there is an unsolvable conflict between the employee and the head of department, the employee must also inform the head of department in advance that the employee will visit the manager on the subject. And the manager should also ask here whether the head of department knows about it. From a systemic point of view, the employee has permission to escalate if the entire system or he is in danger.

Conclusion: In order to avoid exclusion, both conflict parties should go to the higher level together, or the higher level talks to both conflict partners at the same time.

Conclusion: Do not talk/bitch about others. Others interrupt when they talk about others.


Gossip, office grapevine and blasphemy are commonplace and normal for most people. Whether in the private or professional environment, it happens everywhere.
Nevertheless, it has two major disadvantages or consequences.

1. Exclusion   ̶ the first system law is violated, with the consequence of suffering and anger
If a person is talked about in their absence, they are excluded. Often the statements about third or fourth persons come back to the excluded person ̶ of course changed as in the game “Silent mail”.

Exercise 1: Would I say the same if she was there? 

Would you say the same about the person not present if they were present? If not, then at least phrase it that way.

That is, you follow the feedback rules and describe only the objective behavior. There should be no interpretation, evaluation or a “who is …” or “who are …” statement on the identity level.

However, it is best not to talk about others at all. Whether positive or negative. Because there is another consequence.

2. The view is shaped

Die Sichtweise  ̶  metaphorisch als „Schubladendenken“ oder „welche Brille habe ich auf“ beschrieben  ̶  verändert sich bei der Person, die etwas über die nicht anwesende Person hört.

Exercise 2: Prejudgment

Do you remember a person you met and heard about before?
Even if you have tried to look at the person neutrally and without prejudice, your attitude has been coloured.

What was the coloration? And was your “image” confirmed or was the person different?

For this reason you should respectfully interrupt others when someone is talking about others. Especially if it is judgmental and negative or contains “who is …” statements.

This is especially true for role models such as parents, teachers or managers. The more parents or managers (and of course everyone else) display this behaviour of not talking about others or preventing it, the fewer violations occur at the systemic law level. This would already be a great gain.

Systemic mediation: Procedure for situations in which one person has heard something about the other person before (the question applies to both conflict partners):

1. Had you already talked to other people (family, friends, former employer) about the current conflict partner before you met him? Had you heard anything about the conflict partner (also about corners)?

Which reputation preceded it?

2 Even if you have tried to delete or neutralize what you have heard, experience shows that something sticks. The “glasses” are somewhat coloured. If you look at this colouring, how much prejudice or bias is there now?

3. To what extent did this colouring of the “glasses” determine your getting to know each other?

4. If you remove this bias, what changes? 

What would have been your first meeting? What changes? Could it have been good then?