Writing in the Harvard Business Review, author and social scientist John Grenny, points out that, ironically, the more gossip is used, the more the need for it is reinforced: “Risk-free yakking about problems temporarily distracts us from our sense of responsibility to solve them.”
How to change the culture? Grenny says:
- Stop enabling: Gossipers are rewarded when others respond by passively listening.
- Create alternatives: Leadership can decrease the demand for gossip by devising safe forums for bringing matters into the open.
- Build skills: Managers should model skills and strategies for surfacing concerns—and challenge employees to create the culture they want by using them.
We want to hear. How do you react when a co-worker wants to share gossip? What outlets, if any, does your organization offer as a way to air grievances, concerns, and sensitive issues other than gossip? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.