Why gossip is bad for business – and how to keep it under control

gossip pic nov 13Gossip among employees is rarely a positive thing. It can reduce productivity and be an indication of unhappy, un-empowered and non-collaborative employees. As a leader you should find out the real reason behind any negative or untrue gossip and work hard to rectify the situation before it spirals out of control. Many people agree that gossip is about sharing personal details about someone that is not confirmed to be true. It is important for any leader to keep their ears open for an increase in gossip and know how to properly address the issue without causing more. The top key motivators for gossip are summarized in a new book titled The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, by Jim Dethermer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp. The authors agree that many people will gossip as a way to make others appear wrong in order to advance their own agendas or to gain validation and support. Another reason people gossip is to control others not under their authority. This is often driven by fear of their own persuasive ability’s or lack of confidence in leadership. People who gossip as a way to get attention usually are driven by a lack of attention elsewhere. On the other hand, some will use it as a way to divert attention from themselves when they feel vulnerable. For example, employees may gossip about the personal lives of their boss in order to make their own faults seem less significant. Bear in mind, gossip doesn’t work without a listener. By agreeing to listen you’re only perpetuating the cycle. Those who refuse to listen to gossip will kill it as effectively as non-gossipers. As a leader it is important to observe your employees and separate fact from fiction, which is a far more effective way of maintaining the health of an organization. The best way to clean up gossip is to speak to the gossiper and the listener along with the person they have been gossiping about. A good leader needs to act as a mediator between the affected parties and try to determine the real reason for the gossip. Do your employees feel undervalued? Are they seeking attention? Are they unhappy with you or a co-worker? Once you get to the root of the issue you can more effectively solve the problem and ultimately put a stop to negative gossip. Every business needs creative energy and collaboration to survive in today’s competitive environments and these are undermined when gossip is present. People get their feelings hurt, arguments ensue and ultimately the work suffers. A good leader needs to stop it before it escalates because it will get worse and the underlying issues behind the gossip will never be resolved. Final thought, confront the problem head on, don’t wait. Gossip is an inevitable part of any organization and it’s not always a bad thing, but the negative gossip can put a serious damper on employee morale and it is important to put a stop to it. Source: Forbes]]>

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