Fighting Off Gossip in the Workplace

The basic principle of conversations requires a messenger, a message, and a recipient. Communication cannot happen when a piece is missing. When part of the message is lacking or changed, then the true message is lost. Inconsistency with the primary truth is the primary cause of gossip.

Our capacity to think before speaking is often forgotten when interesting stories reach us. The fire of gossip is often fuelled by individuals who are insecure, under-appreciated, or simply a malicious person that enjoys causing problems within the community of workers. Here are the steps on pursuing the hot flames of gossipmongers;

1. Knowing the Culprit

It is not an impossible feat to know who creates gossip in the workplace. Managers must be proactive in dealing with issues like this by constant reminder on zero-tolerance towards sharing unverified information. Such actions must be dealt with as soon as the perpetrator is singled out.

2. Fostering Positive Reinforcements

Beginning the day with uplifting remarks and positive insights from last week’s work will surely promote productivity. It is proven and tested over time that people are sometimes deprived of affirming statements coming from higher-ups. When these employees are triggered externally with problems like gossip, they do not have enough willpower to restrain themselves from judging others.

3. Practicing Accountability

For some, a culture of transparency is a total shock because of the confrontation that follows. When tracing back the source of gossip, it is best that the root cause is addressed and prevented.

It is also good practice to call into account the people that are gossiping behind each others’ back and have them deal with each other face to face. I used to call these people in my room and share with them what I heard from the grapevine. They will be forced to discuss their issues under the light of truth. It is often easier for people with issues to fight their war behind the scenes of gossip. Exposing them and the bad stories they spread will often prevent recurrence.

There is no benefit in entertaining gossip. It is malicious, negative and destructive. It also wastes our time. Often, it will come at the cost of the reputation of others. The best way to stop gossip is to kill it on its tracks. Do not bother listening to it. After all, you have better things to do.

Tips for the newly hired Gen Y

Entering the workplace can be intimidating for a first timer. Often, a new millennial employee would not know where to begin his or her journey. This is particularly worse if the company does not have a structured on-boarding program.

The first thing you ask for on your first day at work is for the on-boarding program. For the first time employees, the on-boarding program is a set of activities designed to get a newly hired person to quickly be productive in the workplace. This can include a brief background of the company, the key leaders, critical HR policies and procedures, walk-through on where to get information when needed, tour of the office and so on.

After the on-boarding has been accomplished, the very first question you ask your manager for is your latest job profile or job description. You need to read this very carefully as it narrates your job and the activities it entails. You need to clearly know what is expected from you. A former Citibank executive used to tell us “In order to do a good job, you first need to understand what is expected from you. Do not guess.” Ask your manager what he or she expects from you.

Start observing which of your colleagues actually deliver on their commitment and which ones are simply full of lip service. You need to stay away from the nay sayers or negative ones. These people will drain your energy with their negative vibes. Make sure you keep close to the high potential ones and get their help when needed.

Do not forget to dive into and understand your KPI’s and goals. You need to know how your performance will be measured at the end of the year. You need to understand what your goals are and plan how to reach them. Your ability to work as a team and deliver your goals has a big influence on your career in the company. It will also influence your pay scale and bonus.

Make sure you try and get along with everyone. At this point you will be feeling your way around the workplace and the last thing you need is someone who dislikes you. Let me make it very clear right now – no matter how bright you may think you are, you cannot win in the workplace if you are alone.

There you have it. Please feel free to pass this on to your friends and colleagues.

All the best in your new venture.