|Is Your Office a Gossip Shop?
Let’s face it – we all have our quirks. Part of working with others is the opportunity to develop collaborative working relationships. Other people’s habits and behaviors affect us when we are in a shared environment. In many instances, these are the people that we interact with for the majority of our days. As a natural result, friendships form as trust and respect are gained from our day-in and day-out interactions. You may have experienced this in your own company. And then, one day… BOOM! Like a bolt of lightning, an employee begins to engage in storytelling that looks and smells an awful lot like gossip.
“Did you hear about Kathy? She is dating one of her supervisors…” or “I think Corey is on something. He has been late a lot lately and his eyes are watery…”
And with that bolt of lightning you have an out-of-control wildfire on your hands. It only takes one person to spark this type of destruction. Once one person speculates to another and then another, that speculation soon becomes a “fact,” and the object(s) of the gossip are in a position to defend the truth. This type of defensive space can shut down trust and, as a result, the creativity and collaboration that take so long to cultivate are lost. Gossip wars can emerge with retaliation, and the cycle of destruction keeps on going.
So how can you protect your workplace from gossip? Here are a few tips to help you guide your employees in stamping out the gossip wildfire.
Change the Subject.
Say something positive about the person who’s the target of gossip.
Confront gossip politely yet firmly.
Point out missing information.
Making it clear to your staff that gossip will not be tolerated. Eliminating gossip in the workplace will perpetuate an ongoing culture of kindness and respect.