How Office Gossip Destroys An Organization’s Work Culture
“I overheard him say this.”
“She’s going to get sacked for disrupting the team.”
“He’s going to get a good raise this time around for licking the boss’ a$$.”
These are the most common conversations that are heard around the coffee machine. And, most of them are baseless and false. A familiar word that has been given to all this is ‘Office Gossip’.
As common it is, the fact of the matter is that office gossip kills the work culture of an organization. It spreads like wildfire, and sometimes causes irreparable damage to your reputation.
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Here’s how office gossip does all the damage -
1. Destroys trust
Ever felt betrayed about the news someone told you, which turned out to be a hoax? Would you believe that person ever again? That’s one odd example of how gossip destroys trust.
What might seem like a true story, when you hear someone narrate it, believing it without giving a thought and spreading it further could lead to destruction in your credibility as well. After all, no one believes a person who has proven to untrustworthy for spreading rumors and gossips.
2. Hurts feelings
Not everyone takes things as sportingly as you might take them. Gossips can hurt big time, especially if it is spread in the wrong spirit.
Gossip could be around anything, personal or professional life, but it could end up turning into something that can blemish the reputation of not just the person who is part of the rumor, but also the person spreading it as well. People might seem to be interested in gossiping around with you, but in the longer run they are always going to be cautious talking around you.
3. Undermines credibility
If you are the gossip girl of the office sooner or later you will lose the credibility once everyone gets to know that you were the breeding ground of all the ‘masala news’ in the office. And, none of those gossips held any grounds.
This can in-turn put a big question mark on your credibility, not just a team member but also as a professional. Would you like to be considered as someone whose claims hold no credibility in the office? No one would!
4. Brings down the morale
When there are false gossips and rumors always running around in the office, it creates a negative atmosphere. You are really not sure about when to say and what to say. Rather you are more concerned about your words not becoming a topic of discussion over the coffee machine.
This spread of negativity creates an impact on the morale of employees. As a result of this, people are more concerned about their words rather than performance. Focus shifts on being clinically correct, and not on giving their best ideas to achieve more. But, that’s not how great business cultures are made.
4. Disrupts workplace
It is quite self understood that having such a negative atmosphere could disrupt the workplace. Team members are busy either saving their a$$ by poking others and putting blame on them, or more focused on staying away from becoming the talk of the town.
Such a workplace is left with only traces of productivity, and becomes more of a gossip ground. The end result of all this is degrading employee performance, workplace becoming creepy, and it could easily lead to high turnover number of the employees. After all, no one would like to be part of a work culture where everything about the work is the center of attraction, and not the actual work.
But, the biggest matter of concern is that no matter how good an organization is you cannot prevent people from gossiping. However, what you can do is minimize the impact of these baseless news and rumors.
Here’s how I’ve been dealing with them here at ProofHub -
Bring in transparency
When everything is said and done behind closed doors, the chances of false rumors spreading are automatically heightened. This is the reason that as a leader you need to encourage openness and transparency in business processes. Try to bring in a perspective in office meetings where everyone gets to participate and put forth their views.
This will encourage a culture where everyone does not have any doubt that things are done behind the curtain, and prevents any chances of miscommunication leaving no scope for gossips or rumors to be conceived.
Share the news while it’s hot
Whether it is good or bad, your team members deserve to get the news before it gets stale. Rather than building a lot of hype about things like client reviews, product launches or campaign performances, share the updates on a regular basis with everyone.
In fact, a great way is to shoot out an email for these things across the team or have a bulletin board so that everyone gets to see the real news, rather than create speculations and rumors.
Keep them together
Most important of all, encourage the feeling of being together as a team. Create an atmosphere where people are always avoiding these rumors and gossip. Rather they communicate directly to each other when they have something to say. Keep communication channels open, so that they don’t have to rely on other resources to get the news.
Whether you are sailing through tough tides or riding through a smooth sea, be certain that everyone in the team has a clear picture of how things are. This will make sure that there is no scope of any uncertainty in their thoughts and people would consciously avoid being part of the unnecessary chatter.
Creating a work culture in which there is no room for rumors requires nothing more than a conscious effort. As a leader when you will focus equally on building a team and a work culture in which the team can thrive, you will automatically be negating the chances of any miscommunication, lag of information or gossip spreading.
And, that’s how you can prevent your culture from getting intoxicated. These small things have helped me build a culture in ProofHub where we work together and stick together as a family. I hope it does the same for you as well.
All the best!
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Vartika Kashyap runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. She is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s been featured among LinkedIn’s Top Voices for the year 2016 & 2017. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.
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