The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Workplace Gossip
Gossip is toxic. But it’s happening in almost every workplace where there’s more than one employee. Gossip is a time-waster, and it can destroy company morale and create rifts between teams. How can managers and team members stop gossip in its tracks and get the company back on track? Here are the tips you need to know.
Stopping Gossip—Tips for Employees
Gossip can turn work into an uncomfortably negative environment. How can workers avoid the lure of gossip? We have some suggestions:
- You can prevent gossip by staying busy and focused on the tasks ahead of you each day. If there’s gossip happening all around you, go back to your desk and get to work. If an employee passes along a juicy story to you, don’t share it with anyone else.
- Turn a negative into a positive by saying something upbeat and watch it turn gossip around.
- Don’t share personal information that you don’t want others to hear. If there’s gossip happening at work, you’ll get included in the negativity. So don’t give your coworkers ammunition and keep your private life private.
Choose your friends wisely at work and make sure you behave appropriately by avoiding gossip whenever it arises. You’ll be happier and get further in the job if you don’t waste time on negative gossip.
Stopping Gossip—Tips for Managers
Negative office gossip lessens corporate productivity. For managers, gossip can reduce employee engagement and create turnover that you don’t need. High performing teams can occur when gossip stops. But when is it appropriate for managers to step in, and how should they do it?
The answer is to address gossip when it hurts the team. Managers can tackle the issue in several ways:
- Address the specific gossip mongers by talking privately with employees that take part in it. Make it your goal to help them understand why gossip is harmful to the team. Document the warning and let the employee know that if the behavior continues, further consequences could occur.
- Meet with your team and talk about the situation candidly. You could do this by including the topic at a staff meeting. Talk about the ramifications of negative gossip and engage the team in working on changing behaviors, staying positive, and increasing work productivity.
- Introduce and model the idea of positive gossip. The idea is that you are sharing positive stories about team member accomplishments or activities that you participate in or even stories about clients who are satisfied with the work. The point is to turn negative culture positive by helping employees feel good about the work and the company.
Managers must work on modeling the behavior they want their employees to exhibit. Always remember that employees look to managers for actions that are acceptable or unacceptable. Changing a workplace culture that has fallen prey to gossip can be hard. For managers and employees that feel it’s time for a change of venue, Twin City Staffing can help. Call us for help with creating a team focused on creating a positive work environment.