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Everything You Need To Know About Grey Rocking At Office

6 min read
Published on 17 October, 2022

Grey rocking is a technique or method an individual applies while dealing with a negative or toxic person. It is a method used to reduce the harm of emotional abuse.

Grey Rocking involves:

  1. Avoiding a person's baneful behavior by becoming unresponsive.
  2. Avoiding eye contact.
  3. Not showing any emotions during the conversation.

You practice the grey rock method by making yourself least interested in gossip, unhealthy talks, drama, or conflicts. Mental and behavioral health professionals often suggest this strategy to avoid toxic people in an individual's personal life.

Understanding the concept of Grey Rock

greyrock-in-the-workplace

To "grey rock" a person means keeping interactions as minimal, uninteresting, and unrewarding as possible. To be precise, this means keeping it professional, and giving short, straightforward answers to their questions.

Some people use the grey rock method with those they suspect of having a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). People with NPD may use others as a source of attention, manipulating them to get a specific reaction that bolsters their ego. The idea behind grey rocking is to cut off a person's "narcissistic supply" and cause them to lose interest in their target.

According to Medical News Today, grey rocking a person with NPD is meant to cause them to lose interest in the target of their behavior. As grey rocking is a new concept, there is no research assessing whether the grey rock method produces this result.

Read: How Narcissism At Work Is Destroying Your Company Culture

People who try the grey rock method report the following reactions from those with NPD:

Podcast: Why Do Workplaces Need To Focus On Employees' Behavioral Health?

Grey Rocking at Work

grey rock

We all know how important it is to practice in the workplace. Working in a toxic or negative work environment disrupts employees' minds and deteriorates the work culture.

In the case of a workplace, narcissistic coworkers are often seen feeding on conflict, drama, and attention, which feed on your reaction. The motto behind this technique is to cut the spreading of toxicity in the workplace. And, foster a healthy work environment.

You might have encountered situations where you were working, and your coworker initiated a negative conversation disturbing your workflow. That might be normal for your coworker but not for you.

Further hampering your emotional agility, leading you to loss of interest in work, and feeding stress and anxiousness. It can ruin the peace of your mind and the entire office's.

Read: 50 Calming Quotes For Stress - How To Cope With It At Work

When to Practice

Improves-Cognition

When you experience an incident or come across a person trying to take away your conscience, feed them grey rock. Choose to surround yourself with people that lift your mood, and improve your self-worth and emotional well-being.

Yet, you cannot always walk away from a toxic person. Take your colleagues and managers, for example; being around them may sometimes be unavoidable.

BetterUp provided a list of people you can apply grey rock in the workplace:

  • A colleague who often gaslights you

  • A leader who exhibits unhealthy behavior

  • A team member who carries a negative mindset

  • A peer who insults and belittles you

  • A manipulative coworker who feeds on conflicts and drama

  • A manager who doesn't foster workplace psychological safety

  • HRs who don't play along with the employee's essential needs

  • An unsupportive leader- to employees' spiritual, behavioral, mental, physical, and financial wellness issues.

How to Practice

Generates-Positive-Emotions

If you ask employees, 20% of them will confess their experience with an abusive person once in a lifetime. The Grey rock method was an underlying subject until recently when studies focused on the rising well-being concern among 21st-century employees.

Here are a few grey rock techniques for employees:

  1. Give short, evasive, or one-word answers.

  2. Keep interactions limited and be less responsive.

  3. Avoid arguing, no matter what someone says or does, to provoke it.

  4. Keep personal information private.

  5. Show no emotional responses to sensitive questions.

  6. Minimize contact, such as by waiting long periods before responding to texts or leaving a call immediately.

Relation between Grey Rocking and Employee Well-being

grey-rock

You all must wonder about the significance of grey rocking in our day-to-life life. Reading the article, you got a hint about how a narcissistic or pernicious coworker impacts you.

A person with such disorders or conditions needs to be understood and provided treatment, consultation, and therapy. At the same time, the person fed with that negative behavior must be aware and apply appropriate techniques.

And, if the grey rock doesn't work, you can opt for emotional self-care, social support, and legal help. But the best way to avoid or not let it harm you is by practicing agility. Mindfulness and spiritual wellness activities or meditation can make you aware and agile.

A mindful and spiritually enriched employee can change and spread positivity all around them. Grey rocking can be difficult for some, but this method is not that tough for resistant and healed employees. A positive attitude plays a key role in success and good life.

Potential Risks involved in Grey Rocking Method/technique?

emotional-agility-2

Grey Rocking strategy involves becoming the most boring and uninteresting person you can be when interacting with a manipulative person.
– Biros

People with controlling and manipulative behavior feed on conflict, euphoria, and chaos, Biros explains. You want to seem more lackluster and tedious to make yourself less appealing around such a person.

There is the possibility that as long as the person remains in contact with an emotionally abusive person, they will likely experience abuse.

  • The first potential risk is the escalation of abuse. The abusive person intentionally escalates new situations and events, doing more harm to the victim.

  • Second, it might lead to an energy drain, fatigue, and frustration to the victim while grey rocking.

  • Last but not least, it can cause severe mental and cognitive behavioral health issues to the victim.

Read: 10 Reasons To Reassure Behavioral Therapy For A Nine-To-Fiver

Summary

Even studies are unsure that the grey rock method reliably works. As so long as a person is in contact with a perpetrator, they may experience abuse. And, thus it is a risk.

If someone cannot distance themselves from the abusive person, they should consider getting professional support. Grey rocking requires long-term solutions.

We are not saying a person with NPD traits is bad; they need more awareness and counseling. Ignoring them completely or being rude can make the situation worst.

As a concerned coworker or friend, it becomes crucial to understand them. Or, ask them to take measures like CBT techniques to minimize it. Doing so will help them rise above, change their behavior and create a healthy, mindful, happy, and positive work culture.

To foster a growth culture at the office is the duty of employees and employers. So, from employers to employees, there should be transparency and a bridge to fill the gap and lead a healthy workplace.

This article is written by Parismita Goswami who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. A feverish poet and cinephile with an intense taste for music, specifically rock, she has the heart of an explorer, learner, and is a lover of the Himalayas. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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