May be, it is normal to gossip when people gather around, be at a family function or a get-togethers and so on.
But when gossips start circulating in an office, it not only harms the individual who is the target but eventually the organization as well.
Many a times, gossips can just be a lie and meant to bring disrepute to the person. Gossips break trust and fill the workplace with doubts and apprehensions.
In such an atmosphere, it is difficult to build a team and infuse team spirit. This will even lead to the organization suffer and its reputation and growth will be at risk.
It is always good for the team and the organization to avoid a gossip mongering atmosphere so that a healthy team that relies on each other with mutual admiration, respect and trust can be built.
Gossip in Workplace:
1. Strike the root cause:
Try to find out if there is any specific department where gossip is flourishing. Find out what gossips are being circulated, if there is any specific person who is targeted and why, and also get to the root cause of the problem.
May be there is a discontent somewhere. Fix the cause before it turns malignant.
2. Create avenues for information:
The other way is not to let gossips arise at all. Gossips raise their head when there is not enough information about what is going on.
If there is any major change happening in the organization, then let the employees know about it in advance, at least leave few hints.
If it is found that gossips about some to-be introduced changes in offices are being circulated, then call a meeting of all employees and try to clarify. In brief, ensure that information is sent out at regular intervals so that there is no haze.
3. Create a joyful and cooperative environment in office:
A positive and joyful environment will spread enthusiasm and lessen discontent, thus creating a gossip-free environment.
Assign work to groups so that there is healthy communication and cooperation.
4. Lead by and set an example:
It is important for the leader of the organization to set up an ideal example by not encouraging gossips or taking steps to reduce such gossip and create a healthy environment for all to work in peace and harmony.
At the same time, the employees too should set an example to those who spread gossip by remaining aloof from such an atmosphere and working sincerely.
5. Let there be an open forum for discussion:
6. Let there be more communication:
Let there be freedom to all employees to communicate effectively and fearlessly so that any issue that creates problems can be brought to the notice of the seniors and matters be resolved as and then and not wait for gossips to start about it and create further negativity.
7. There should be no favouritism:
Many times, problems arise within an organization when favouritism comes to play.
Sometimes, an employee is favored over others or sometimes, the upper-level executives are blithely unaware about the real working people and they continue to promote someone who works less but talks well.
In either case, it is up to the leaders to find the truth and treat all employees on par.
8. Listen well and then act:
Sometimes, things that you tend as gossip can be a game-changer for your company.
For example, if an employee comes to you and speaks ill about another, instead of reprimanding the former, find the truth and then only take action.
What if the information is true and that helps the company?
9. Meet the gossiper in person:
If you are an employee of an organization and you get to know about a colleague who is spreading gossips and rumours about you, then rather than getting angry with him, meet him and have direct one-to-one conversation.
Ask the person why he is doing so and what his intentions are. He will get the message.
10. Attack the issue and not the gossiper:
Instead of jumping into conclusions, find the subject of gossip. Deal with the issue, find what the problem is and the cause and tell the gossiper what you think about it.
11. Stay away from gossips:
Shift the talk to the dress the person is wearing or his or her family and you will notice that the topic of conversation is something more interesting and not a gossip. Remember the Turkish Proverb, “Who gossips to you will gossip of you.”
12. If you can’t stay away, then verify the information:
If the person insists on telling the whole story and there is no escape then, verify what the person has to say by asking counter questions.
If you feel the whole thing is a lie, just put that to the person very politely by saying, ‘That sounds too incredible to be true’, or ‘may be, we only know the half truth and we should give the guy some time’ and so on.
13. The management to meet the gossiper alone:
If the officer managers come to know that there is a certain person who is spreading the rumours, then they should meet the person in private and discuss what is bothering him or her.
There is no need to fire him or humiliate the person in front of the whole office but talk to the person, find the reason and the solution.
14. Seek the solution and not the problem:
If there are too many complaints and gossips about a certain person or a certain happening in office, delve on the issue and find a speedy solution to the same.
Instead of spending too much time discussing the problem and dissecting about those responsible about it, it is better to find the solution.
15. Do not be the saint:
Be friendly with all your colleagues, do not assert your self-righteousness or try to be a saint.
If you display an attitude and stay away from others and not be a team player, then it is but natural to have gossips about you, some true even.
16. Encourage group discussion:
Tell them that such malicious gossips are harming the environment of the office and that it will benefit all to stay away from such gossips and talk and focus on work.
17. Let there be more of positive gossips:
Spreading positive gossips is a better way to arrest negative gossips, point out many experts.
Positive gossips are positive stories about a person, the growth of the organization and more.
18. Build a trustworthy environment:
Happy employees mean a happy office environment and more trust and team spirit. Happy employees do not mean less work and more enjoyment.
Employees are happy when their work is appreciated and they are given assignments according to their talent and expertises. Employees are happiest when there is a challenging working environment which makes them work better and harder.
Create an open atmosphere where ideas and suggestions are encouraged, where people’s woes and problems are discussed and solutions are arrived at.
Such an atmosphere builds trust not only of the employees with the management but amongest the employees as well.
19. Tell all in clear terms, ‘this is a gossip free office’:
Tell the employees and other staff that it is a strict rule of the company that there will be no gossiping around and that strict action will be taken against those who do otherwise.
At the same time, assure them that if they have any doubts or fears or anxieties, then they will be heard and a solution will be arrived at.
20. Create an empathetic atmosphere:
It is up to the management to create empathy in the minds of employees for a certain colleague who has been gossiped about.
It must be several reasons, the person’s personal life, his promotion, or any disciplinary action against the person. In any of the cases, the seniors should talk empathetically about the person and his situation to the employees.
21. Avoid gossip mongers, stay away from them:
22. Guard your tongue:
Be very careful about what you are saying at work and to whom. Office is not a place where you should divulge all information about yourself or even anyone else. Think before you speak.
Even if you have heard about someone or a nasty occurrence in office, be responsible and do not share with any others, because that is what becomes a gossip.
23. Inform the superior if need be:
If you happen to come across gossips that might affect the reputation and overall morale of the office then do not hesitate to meet a superior. Tell him or her about it and they will find a solution.
24. Concentrate on work more and less on others:
Spend your time in office constructively by focusing on your work and try to learn something new.
When others see you that you are engrossed in work, they may not have the courage or time to disturb you and this is the best way to remain away from gossips.
25. A follow-up action is needed:
If there has been a discussion or meeting about any issue or problem, then the managers do have to ensure follow-up about the problem and find a solution as soon as possible.
Gossips will never run out but attacking it at the root will ensure that they do not happen as frequently and that there is a healthy working atmosphere that benefits all, employees and employers.