How to reduce gossip in the workplace?

by on June 29, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Reasonable alternatives and precise dates help with communication and help eliminate gossip in the workplace

Performance surprises cause gossip in the workplace
Don’t ask why or why not when someone surprises you with non-performance. Instead, ask what’s the next step to get it done. The excuse doesn’t matter. If we’re going to analyze later on how we got into this mess, fine. But right now, I just need this done. What’s the next step? When are you going to do that? Can I count on you for that?

Allow people to say “no” to a requested commitment only when they can provide the solution of how they will get it done anyway. That’s great stuff. It’s the same stuff we’ve been teaching managers for 30 or 40 years.

Lack of training and gossip in the workplace
During good times, and we were so busy and things were rolling for a lot of us that we really didn’t take the time to train. And now, in tough times, their supervisors are scrambling. They honestly have no clue.

And when I asked the companies what kind of training, what have you done for these people. And they look at you kind of, “Well, they’ve been busy.” And of course, when we’re busy, you don’t have time. In tough times, we don’t have the money. But boy, right now, a lot of companies are suffering because their supervisors are poorly equipped to deal with behavior issues like gossip in the workplace

This is the same stuff we’ve been teaching for decades, start to apply it. Good news is not that hard to separate myself from the crazies.

Specific dates and times
Give and get specific dates and times for completion. Eliminate the use of the phrase “I’ll try” or “I’ll give it my best”. And here’s the phrase you come back with. “I know you’re going to try. What I need to know is can I count on you for the results.”

This is language that you just practice, you just learn. And it sets a different tone at the workplace. Really puts the pressure on the employee where it belongs.

All else fails and the employee is not going to be able to meet standards, discontinue the employment of people who are consistently not accountable. If you’ve done this right, then you’ll have the documentation to do what you need to do.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute conference Gossip, Gab, and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize its Negative Impact by Hunter Lott

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