• Dave Beam

Kill Gossip Before It Kills Your Business



I can give you a sure-fire formula guaranteed to run off your best team members, murder team morale, keep drama and confusion brewing, and wipe out optimism and workplace joy: Tolerate gossip.



I can give you a sure-fire formula guaranteed to run off your best team members, murder team morale, keep drama and confusion brewing, and wipe out optimism and workplace joy: Tolerate gossip.

I’m defining gossip as unconfirmed rumors and stories about other people. Some call it the grape vine. The water cooler chatter. Those little morsels of workplace drama that take on a life (or death) of their own. They are little bits of poison. If you have gossip in your business, it is a cancer; a weed that will suck the life out of your organization and bring it down.

Soap operas, tabloids, and cheap talk shows are for losers, and there is no place in a world class business for negative stories about others. I care enough about your business to possibly offend you with such a strong stand. Why would you feed the dark side of human nature that yearns for juicy, negative, deprecating stories about other human beings? Gossip has its roots in insecure people that get attention and entertainment by putting others down and passing on negative news. It is immature, unkind, childish, and at times borderline illegal (defamation of character).

If you are a business leader with workplace authority and responsibility, then find a way to implement a strict “NO GOSSIP” agreement with every team member. Here is an example of a simple and effective rule: “We do not talk negatively about any other person unless they are present. Any negative talk about anyone is only for the purpose of finding a resolution and solving the problem.” Problems and gripes about others only need to be discussed with the person or the leadership for the purpose of finding resolution. I recommend a clear written warning on the first offense and firing on the second offense if possible. Dave Ramsey in his book, EntreLeadership, said it well: "Hand your negatives up and your positives down. Otherwise it sounds a lot like gossip." Gossip is as destructive as illegal drugs.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Small minds talk about people, mediocre minds talk about events, and great minds talk about ideas.” A gossip free business is a wonderful place to work and serve customers. The best team members will come and stay at such a place, and you can be sure they will flee from a gossipy environment. This is one rule that is a “no brainer.”



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