Recently, have you overheard more than just your fair share of playful banter about last night’s game highlights at the water cooler? I’m talking about gossip. You’re not alone. Gossip regularly makes its rounds, in any office setting, in any culture, at just about any time of the workday, and beyond. It does not discriminate. 

But… guess who has to put their foot down? The leader. 

I could be here all day explaining why humans gossip. There are many reasons. Instead, I want to talk about how to eliminate gossip from your workplace. Making a valiant effort, in the right direction, is important for productivity and ultimately your bottom line. But you already knew that. 

In my coaching experience gossip creates a society of self-doubt. According to The Harvard Business Review, “Gossip can ruin team cohesion as flagrantly as slinging mud on a white suit. When trust is sullied, rancor, animosity, and misgivings can turn a culture of cooperation into a mosh pit of dysfunction.”  

Below, I’ve listed three steps toward eliminating gossip from your culture: 

  1. Practice self-awareness: An authentic leader reflects and becomes aware of the shift in his/her/their culture. This mindful behavior detects the “rotting root.” The leader then processes that something needs to be done, to fix the problem. 
  2. Be the equality ambassador: With the glory comes the responsibility. The leader sets the tone and example for just or fair treatment. What are you or aren’t you doing to communicate or demonstrate good human exchange among your employees? Often times this has to do with your empathetic abilities, as mentioned here.  
  3. Drop a truth bomb: Vocalize, face-to-face, (which is a more powerful way to exchange human thought) and ask your team members, does the act of gossiping make them feel good? Do they feel the effects of what I call the, “gossip hangover”? Challenge your employees to address their conscience. Yes. It’s a difficult conversation but keep your word. Lead with purpose and vision. 

I know it’s not going to be rainbows and glitter every day. Even as a leadership coach, I know I can’t change all people. But it never hurts to remind our fellow human beings about the importance of integrity and authenticity, which equates to trust.  Without trust among your teammates, what do you have? I’ll let you come up with that answer. 

In closing, encourage comradery coupled with a sturdy set of boundaries. I don’t know? Maybe host a weekly one-on-one tea time in the office? That sure sounds a lot better than spilling it! 

As I wrap up, we all need boundaries. We aren’t built to get along with every single person on our path, but respect and trust must be present, in any industry, to keep the business alive and thriving. These concepts make up the foundation of my leadership practices.  

I’m pretty passionate about this topic, and I want to offer my expertise, so your teams can thrive. Together, let’s squash the judgement, criticism and negativity. I’m ready to get the conversation going with you today. Click below to set up your complimentary leadership coaching session. It’s time to go beyond the range or limits of. It’s time to transcend. 

Be well my friend, 

Dr. Dionne Kress, Leadership Transcended