Tips for EAP Practitioners on Dealing with Gossip | EAPA-SA

Negative gossip can create productivity issues, as well as in poor morale when employees come to distrust each other or their management team, in employee engagement and turnover issues because high-performing employees will move on, and even liability issues if  gossip is seen as harassment.

How to stop negative office gossip

1. Address the employees responsible

Your first action should be to put a stop to gossip by directly addressing the key gossipers one-to-one.  Your goal is to help the person gossiping to understand the impact of their behaviour and the consequences if their bad behaviour continues, such as the possibility that a written warning will go into their personnel file.

2. Meet with the whole team

Once you have addressed the gossiping with the specific perpetrators, the next step is to discuss the situation with your entire team and to help the team to understand the ramifications of gossip. Then, work with your team to change the department culture to one that encourages “positive gossip”.

3. Model the behaviour you want to see in your employees

As a manager employees will look to you for what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable, and you need to ensure you are leading by example and “walking the talk” at all times.

4. Do not try to stop gossip across the entire organisation

Don’t send out an email to all employees or try to address the issue of gossip during an all company meeting. Doing so generally isn’t effective because it fails to address the specific offenders. Instead, encourage all managers to address negative gossipers in their departments directly. Managers should act quickly. Unless it is stopped, gossip can be like a disease that creates chaos throughout a department or even an entire company.

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