Managers: How to Stop the Gossip Chain

BY Kathy Crosett
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A sense of belonging: that’s what many of us seek at our jobs. We spend over a third of our time with our co-​workers. It’s natural to want to know who’s getting the promotion and who’s got a target on their back.

It’s also easy for us to revert to our seventh-​grade selves. When you and your team members engage in office gossip, you’re wallowing in negative energy. Here’s how to stop.

In any organization, managers should set the tone for the kind of behavior that leadership wants to see. As a manager, it’s up to you to set an example. Some of the tips that Lisa Evans outlined in a recent Fast Company article can help.

Change the Conversation

An employee may ask if you’ve heard the latest about the sales rep who tanked another deal. This situation is an opportunity for you to turn around the conversation. Express your disappointment about the loss of the sale. Then ask your employee if they have ideas about how the sale could have been saved. If the employee has great ideas, suggest that they present them at the next sales meeting. Using this approach turns a possible gossip session into a positive outcome for the company.

Stop the Gossip Chain

When employees comes to you with gossip, they may spew out the details before you have a chance to stop them. Maybe the rumor is that an employee’s kid has been arrested again for driving under the influence. Some people will say the employee is missing too much work because of this kid. Or maybe, the rumor goes, this kid is a problem because the employee is a bad parent. The reality is nobody really knows. And it’s not their business.

This is the time for you to put on your manager hat. Model appropriate behavior. In this case, don’t repeat what you’ve heard. You can cut down on the speculation by nipping it in the bud and keeping your lips sealed.

Instead of engaging in and spreading gossip, be the manager who radiates positivity. Become the manager who’s known for making business goals a top priority. That focus will encourage your team members to do the same and will improve the culture for everyone.