Let’s face it, gossip runs rampant in just about every workplace, right? I swear that sometimes it seems as if people literally have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They talk about the company, they talk about co-workers, and OF COURSE they talk about their managers. They can frequently take something that is a partial truth and turn and twist it into a whole speculative truth.
One of my favorites is when employees gossip about the amount of money they are making, and more often than not, they do not tell the truth. So, unhappy coworkers storm down to the Human Resources office asking about their pay and how to get more.
Let’s face it, you have to expect a certain amount of gossip; people want to know what is going on at their workplace, and they like to discuss work issues. The key to this is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand. You need to take action if the gossip is doing the following:
- Disrupting the work place and the business of work
- Hurting other employee’s feelings (We can go into a huge HR debate here but we will skip it….this time)
- Damaging interpersonal relationships.
- Injuring employee motivation and employee morale.
If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you way want to take a step back and take a hard look at your workplace to understand consistent themes in the gossip. Is it possible that you do not share enough information with employees? Is it possible that employees don’t trust you and that they are afraid to ask about important things? Just something to think about before you completely fly off the handle.
If gossip hasn’t been managed in the past, the gossip tends to become a negative in your work culture. With that being said, don’t let negative gossip go unaddressed.
Managing gossip is pretty simple, just manage it as you would any other negative behavior from an employee. I encourage you to use a coaching approach whenever possible to help the employee improve their behavior.
But, when needed, gossip management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the manager or supervisor. if the discussion of the negative impacts of the employee’s gossip has no effect on subsequent behavior, begin the process of progressive discipline…you know the routine – Verbal, formal write up, suspension, termination.
If you assertively deal with the gossip, you will create a work culture and an environment that does not support gossip. It will keep more employees happy and on-board with you and your organization.
Keep this in mind…
“Who gossips to you will gossip of you.”