It’s an age-old scenario in many an office around the world: one person tells somebody something in confidence, then they blab to another employee and before you know it, everybody knows this so-called “secret”. I’ve seen it happen to so many of my co-workers and as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes the rumours are just too good to ignore (especially if they’re particularly juicy). Sometimes, though, gossip needs to be halted. So I’ve done my research (try not to look shocked) and managed to dig up these six effective ways to put an end to the chatter.
Make everybody feel like they matter One of the reasons people suffer from loose lips in an office environment is because they feel there is a divide between them and management. When I noticed a few of my colleagues having quiet conversations in secret, I suggested to Mr P that perhaps it was time to hold a relaxed office meeting to talk about the business and maybe even introduce an incentive scheme – partially so I’d have a chance at some free swag…
Don’t mix business with leisure When you spend 40 hours a week with the same people, it’s very easy to slip in to personal conversations and get to know everything about each other’s lives outside work. Sometimes I feel like I know a little too much about the receptionist’s cats… While it can be essential to have some knowledge of what’s going on in everybody’s lives, (I’d hate to organise a chocolate-themed team-building activity if a colleague were diabetic) try to keep it limited so nothing is spread that could be harmful.
Don’t be the office parrot If you do hear a rumour going around, be the one who refuses to repeat it and encourage others to do the same. Gossip only spreads if more people are getting the word out. The fewer who take part, the quicker the information fades into obscurity.
Face it head-on Let’s admit it; we’re all human and we all do silly things sometimes. And because of our mutual condition, it’s easy to get us to stop bad behaviour by embarrassing us (just think back to your primary school days when the teacher called you out by name if you were acting up). If you hear somebody gossiping, ask them to stop, or give them the correct information about the rumour. If all else fails, hold an office meeting to address it directly.
Get to know your colleagues If you find yourself in charge of getting a team together, pay attention to those who gel more than others. A close working relationship is the perfect breeding ground for those pesky rumours, so try to keep the talkers separated. It’s also a good way to get everybody working with different people, so they’re comfortable with anybody.
Spread the good word No, I’m not suggesting using religion to stop the gossip. Give them something nice to talk about. If they have a company dinner coming up, or if you tell them some good news about the business, they’ll focus on that and lose sight of any negative points they might have blabbed about otherwise. Always look on the bright side, as they say.
Read the original article by Travel Vegas CEO Brendan Schenecker at tinyurl.com/pg9bhak