Gossip can kill an office. You know the old statement “I can’t tell you any more. I’ve already told you more than I heard”? That certainly applies here.
Gossip can be one of the first things to take down a perfectly good work environment. You’ve got 3 three ladies working together perfectly and then one day they all hate each other. What the heck happened?
Bobbi Sue goes out to lunch. Karen decides that she couldn’t wait any longer and she just had to tell Teresa what she had heard about Bobbi Sue. It was very juicy gossip indeed. Teresa was amazed at this new information, but found it somewhat difficult to believe. So the next day when Karen goes out for lunch, Teresa asks Bobbi Sue if it’s true. Bobbi Sue says “NO!” and asks where she heard that. Teresa says “Don’t tell, but Karen told me.” When Karen gets back from lunch, Bobbi Sue confronts Karen about it.
Now they all hate each other and find it nearly impossible to work together, let alone be in the same office together.
Before you decide disseminate information that might be considered gossip you need to really meditate on the following questions:
- Is it the truth? If it fails the first test, then it’s not repeatable.
- Even if it is the truth, do you really need to share it? Will it help anyone? Will it hurt anyone? Would it better left unsaid?
- In our world so full of cynicism and skepticism, will repeating this story be kind? Can it be better left unsaid? Would you really be better off repeating this information?
If you start the sentence with the words “Don’t tell anyone I told you this…” — you probably shouldn’t say it.
When you understand the risks, your chances of becoming a gossiper are dramatically reduced.
So stop gossip in its tracks. Take the high road. Set the expectations and the example in your office.
If you’re a manager and you’re reading this – know your staff is watching you. If you’re a gossiper you can pretty much guarantee you’ve set the precedent in your office that it’s OK to tear others down.
And who wants to work for someone like that?