The negative effects of gossip in the workplace

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

Gossip in the workplace kills productivity and creates discontent among the employees

Many managers have a hard time confronting gossip in the workplace. It is not because it is difficult to talk about, too personal, or disrespectful. It is because gossip in the workplace is such an incredible waste of their time. Dedicated managers and employees are pushing so much of the margin, there is no room for error. There is no extra time. There is no time to try to deal with gossip, gab, and grapevine. And, not only do managers not have the time to deal with office gossip, but most don’t have the temperament to deal with it.

There is no time for gossip in the workplace
Dedicated managers and employees don’t have the time to mess around much at work. They are working 110% to get everything done.
When a manager does take the time to talk about office gossip, it is in order to neutralize a negative impact, because it’s so critical that employees focus on working together.
This is now the current workplace model. We’ve gone from the old pyramid, work hard, pay your dues, be loyal. Now to this gyroscope, constantly moving, constantly changing. It is a function of speed, just like the gyroscope, if it doesn’t keep the speed up, it falls over.
So, the workplace is much flatter, in terms of hierarchy. Everybody’s got to work together to solve problems.
Like I said, managers, we don’t have the time. Most of us don’t have the temperament to deal with this effectively. We don’t have a whole lot of patience with all this. We just say, come on, just do your job and quit all these other stuff.

Ignoring gossip in the workplace is the same as approval
The sad part about the gossip, the gab, the grapevine is that unlike some of the things that we can ignore and it will go away, this doesn’t. Ignoring this sends a message that we’re condoning it, as management. And the least you talk about this, the least you communicate with employees, the more this stuff starts to grow.
And I’ve seen this and it’s a bad habit as managers, “Oh, I’ve got good people. I’m going to ignore them. I’m going to ignore them.”
If you don’t hear from me until next year’s evaluation, you know in your heart you’re a good employee. This sends a wrong message. We ignore the good people, but then when it comes to gossip, the gab, we ignore the bad people and then we end up absorbing all this stuff until one day, we just have it. We’ve got to be prepared to deal with this.
Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar Gossip, Gab, and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize Its Negative Impact by Hunter Lott

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