4 Ways to Make Gossip Work for a Healthy Office Environment
Gossiping is a natural human behavior but overactive rumors can create an uncomfortable work environment and cause productivity issues, moral issues, problems with employee engagement and a massive turnover.
However, not all gossip is created equal. When we think of gossip, we often mean negative talks behind co-workers’ backs that can damage reputation and hurt people’s feelings. However, there are also pro-social gossips that are driven by concern for others and can promote friendship, mutual trust and even relieve stress.
As a leader, your main focus should be on eliminating negative gossips that undermine trust, weaken relationships, drain vitality and lower team performance. And the most important thing to remember is that the cure for negative gossip isn’t silence, it’s praising others to others.
Strategies to eliminate gossip
#1. Stop negative gossip on a personal level
Directly address the negative gossiper(s) one-to-one. Try to make this person understand a destructive impact that their behavior has on the team and the consequences of what will happen if this behavior continues.
#2. Meet the entire team and encourage positive gossip
Discuss the situation with the whole team – explain the difference between negative and positive gossips and invite employees to share positive stories.
#3. Praise teammates
Take a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting to praise teammates. Focus on praising:
- Performance and contribution
- How well they fit into the team/organisation
#4. Encourage teammates to praise their co-workers
Invite teammates to say something good about people they work with. If they need some help, offer them the above-mentioned praise list. If it has been a one-to-one conversation, ask a permission to send a praise email to their co-worker. It may look as simple as that: Hi Jack. I’ve just talked with Bill and you came up. He said you are ….Thank you for all the good you do.