Work performance can outweigh problems with gossip at work
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Work performance can outweigh problems with gossip at work

Balance performance and attitude with gossip at work

Sometimes an employee’s performance outweighs the impact of their gossip at work. It is a scale. And everybody’s all got their own kind of scale. You’re going to put up with gossip at work from people in certain departments where it’s hard to replace the employee.
What are you saying, “We got to throw out attitude. Well, that’s what we did for a long time.” You’ve got to wait until their attitude affects their performance. It’s what we used to say in HR. The only problem with that is, there are some people who can just do enough to get by, but they’re miserable, grumpy, whiny and complaining. Even if you raise the performance bar, they just do enough to get by.
Attitude is not measurable
. No one has good or bad attitude. HR won’t let us, legal counsel won’t let us; all kinds of stuff going on with this now.
The word attitude should be nowhere in our workplace vocabulary. Give up on the word. Keep the idea. New word: behavior. Go after behavior. Don’t give up on the idea, just change the word, go behavior.

Make a behavior standard with gossip in the work.
Make this 50% of anybody’s job. Put this in your company handbook. Put this in every job description. This is 50%. Maintain positive work atmosphere by acting and communicating in a manner so that you get along with customers, clients, co-workers and most importantly, me. “I am the boss.” So, I take it out of performance, because we’ll get this all the time, “I do my job, I do my job.” That’s another one of the playing dumb. No, at least 50% of your job is your ability to get along with co-workers and me. That’s behavior.I defined what it is I’m after. Not just the performance.

Deal with performance first and gossip at work second
But, if you’re struggling with an employee that’s got the negative side, the gossip, gab, and grapevine and you’ve talked with and you’ve dealt with them, but their performance doesn’t meet minimum standard, well, you’ve got a choice between performance and behavior. Go performance. It’s easier. Now, if you get the performance issue fixed and they’re still a problem then deal with the behavior. But go performance first. It’s easier.

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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