Water cooler chat, office gossip – it can be fun and light-hearted. You’re catching up on weekend plans, telling your teammate about so-and-so’s engagement or laughing about that funny thing your boss said during a meeting. However, when it takes a negative spin, it can have serious implications to your colleagues and office culture. As a leader, you are responsible for making sure your team is productive and engaged, and gossip can take away from your efforts. Here are tips on how to avoid and eventually get rid of it:
Directly Address Individual Gossipers
Sending a blanket team email telling people to stop spreading negativity will not accomplish much, other than put everyone on the defense. Privately address the individuals driving the negative office gossip to help them understand the implications of their actions. As a leader, you will quickly find that directly addressing and explaining issues is typically more efficient and effective, and this will be no exception.
Set the Example
Set the example for everyone on your team by focusing on positivity and not tolerating bad-mouthing at work and in your own life. As a leader, you set the standard for the team, and if they see you only talking about the pleasantries, they will do the same. Encouraging positive gossip is actually really beneficial to your culture, as your teammates will be spreading good stories about each other. For example, a teammate had a unique idea and raised a bunch of money for the company’s philanthropy – you want your team to share that story!
Always Walk Your Talk
Negative gossiping is simply a bad habit that needs to be broken. After you set the example, make sure you’re always following through. Your team will not take you seriously if you’re all about the positive one week, and then the next you sink back into bad habits.
Negative office gossip can be destructive, so get rid of it in your team and replace it with fun water-cooler chat!
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