The Gossip Truth

Water Cooler GossipI don’t care what company or organization you visit, there’s always the water cooler gossip. Half truths spread around co-workers and colleagues as a way to pass the time, stay engaged with one another or start unnecessary fires.  And the smaller your enterprise is doesn’t guarantee you’re exempt from gossipers or that your employees won’t be gossiping. People like to know what’s going on, particularly, about the activities that affect their jobs and income.  When left in the dark, they take what little bits of info they find and they run with it.  But unlike a bigger organization or corporation, as a smaller company, you have the power to put an end to most of the gossip that floats around the office and kills productivity.

One of the biggest culprits behind gossiping is misinformation.  Maybe one of your employees was standing by your office door listening in on a conversation they probably shouldn’t have.  Maybe the they think the new hires are in fact replacements.   Whatever the pieces they pick up are, no matter how poorly they fit together, don’t be surprised if they become truths in the eyes of your staff.  They think what they think because they haven’t been informed.  Whenever you catch wind of something that’s going around the office that isn’t true, address it — immediately.  There’s no need to let half-truths pollute the work environment.  Clashing personalities will do that all by themselves.  If the information is highly confidential and many of your employees aren’t privy to it, filter out what they don’t need to know.  And if you let them know that there are bits of that information they cannot know about, but it doesn’t endanger the company or their place.  Keeping your employees in the dark too often for too long can hinder business, not help it.

Share what you can as often as you can.  With the information your employees are allowed to know about, be an open book about it.  Have weekly meetings (but keep them short), send emails or memos.  Let your employees feel like they’re more than just a screw or bolt in the machine that is your business.  Make them feel like a vital instrument that helps it run smoothly by sharing helpful details about the company, concerns and direction the business is headed in.

Remember those clashing personalities?  Separate them.  I know we’d like to think that grown folks can be professional on the job despite their differences, but sometimes they can’t.   And the last thing you need to worry about is calling the police to escort former employees off the premises (sadly, I’ve seen this happen).  If two or more employees cannot work together and cannot work out their differences, don’t make them to do so.  Instead, keep their projects separate as well as their team associations.  If they share similar roles and responsibilities, break up the joint task in multiples and assigned each one their own.  Conflicting employees can do more than spread gossip, they can lower the moral of  your cooperative employees and create division in your company.

Your reputation and name are not just important outside the doors of your company (real or otherwise), but they matter just as much within the company.  Don’t let misinformation, clashing personalities and gossip pollute your business from the inside out.




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