Use your method of speech in the battle against gossip in the workplace

Some key principles in Susan Scott’s “Fierce Conversations” that can help avoid gossip in the workplace:

  1. “Build the courage to interrogate reality.”
    Everything is changing all the time. Our company’s changing. We’re changing. There is a natural resistance to change, especially the gyroscope-like way that our companies are changing today. Accepting and working alongside that change is the first step to controlling your atmosphere and therefore avoiding detrimental occurrences of office gossip.

  2. “Come up behind yourself into the conversation. Make it real.”
    Remove from your vocabulary the word “But” and change it with “And”. Avoiding the kind of negativity that comes with “But” could help avoid the negativity that causes and stems from office gossip.

  3. “Be here. Be prepared to be nowhere else.”
    This becomes more important as a generation of employees under thirty begin working for us. Younger employees are very much into multitasking. They can be doing work, running a conversation and be on their iPod all at the same time. Although it would be tactless to prohibit them from doing so, it makes sense to limit it. For managers, especially, it is important to unplug during a conversation. If I’m going to have a conversation, I want to be in the conversation. It’s just respectful—and employees who feel respected are most likely to cause office gossip. Emails are very efficient ways to communicate, but also detrimental because the real meaning doesn’t get through. Voice tone and body language don’t get through. Remember—”While no single conversation guarantee to transform a company, a relationship or a life, any single conversation can.”

  4. “Own emotional wake”.
    As a manager, you can control your atmosphere and your response. If you start yelling and screaming at an employee, you’ve lost that control. The anti-bullying laws are going to step in, and your employees lost respect for you completely. A disrespectful, uncivilized manager tends to cause rampant office gossip.

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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