Discussions improve the workplace. Conversations drive innovation. Banter develops relationships. But what happens when the chat turns to gossip, when people start making negative aspersions, passing on unsolicited personal information and creating rifts?
Gossip is a time thief, it distracts attention but it also can increase conflict and decrease morale. All organisations want to build trust between staff, but gossip breaks this down on every level.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, here are my three steps to not getting stuck in the gossip quagmire….
- Be aware. Know the situations and people where you are likely to get sucked into gossip. It might be that time taken to grab a drink, or the five minutes after the meeting whilst everyone leaves the room. With this awareness you could minimise or avoid those situations.
- Choose to be different. Most people will feel obliged or even flattered to be involved in the gossip but you have a choice. At a basic level you could choose not to participate, by focussing on other things you will be too busy to be part of supporting and promoting the gossip. If for some reason you find yourself in the swamp, be positive and complimentary about the person being gossiped about, it’s the fastest way to kill the negative chatter.
- Rise above it. You are not going to stop gossip from happening across your whole organisation. But you can rise above it and like every great leader you can take steps to reduce it. At the widest level, communicate regularly so that everyone knows what is going on, authentic communication can only reduce the flow of gossip and speculation.
So when it comes to gossip make sure there’s nothing left to say now!
About the song:
A friend let me borrow the album “Night Visions” which this song appears on. I thought they were OK but my 9 year old Son absolutely loves them so whenever we go anywhere in the car now I get to listen to songs like “Radioactive” and “Demons”. He’s even going to his first ever gig in November to see Imagine Dragons live. Hopefully it will cement the same love for music that I have…..