Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Kill the Rumor Mill

Is gossip a problem in your workplace? On your team? In your church? Take a look at this fantastic article from Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Advisor Newsletter on how you can take the lead and "kill the rumor mill".

God Bless,
Jason Jasper

Silence Is Golden
How to Kill the Rumor Mill

Three Hiring Mistakes to AvoidForget the economy, your competition or even complicated government regulations. What may be harming your company more than any other factor is something that's so commonplace, you're probably not aware of its damaging impact. We're talking about office gossip.

So how prevalent is negative chatter in today's businesses? The answer may surprise you. According to a recent survey of company executives by The Creative Group, a staffing firm, 84% said gossip is common at the workplace. In another poll by Randstad USA, gossip tops the list as the biggest workplace pet peeve.

Gossip has the power to divide and destroy everything you've built. It kills morale, unity, productivity and creativity, and it causes turnover. So if gossip is so detrimental, how do you stop it? Here are a few ways you can kill the rumor mill.

Set an Example
The first step to shut down gossip is to take a look in the mirror. Are you guilty of talking negatively about someone on your team to another who is not one of your leaders? As the owner or leader of your company, your team watches everything you do and will naturally follow your example. Avoid impulse communication with them when you are angry or upset. Show them by your actions that gossip will not be tolerated by anyone at your company, including you.

Be Transparent
One of the main causes of gossip at a company is lack of communication. People want to know what's going on and why. If they don't know what's going on, fear, frustration and anger set in. That's when the talk begins. Trust your team and avoid what Dave calls “mushroom communication”: keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure. Create a culture of communication. When in doubt, always over-share—as long you're not betraying confidences or crossing the gossip line.

Just Say No
The easiest solution to stop negative talk is to create a no-gossip policy. Then, have a meeting and explain that if someone gossips, they're risking their job. It's that serious. At Dave's company, an offender is warned once. On the second infraction, they're fired. The bottom line is that gossip is a cancer, and sometimes the only way to keep it from spreading is to cut out the source.

Before you can take any action, though, your team has to know exactly what constitutes gossip. Gossip, by definition, is saying something negative about anyone or anything to someone who can't do anything about it. To keep it simple, use Dave's company rule: Negatives go up, positives go down. He wants his team members to tell their leaders—not each other—about the bad stuff.

The first step in creating a unified team is to stop the gossip. When you do, you'll immediately see a difference as your team becomes more comfortable, a whole lot less frustrated and much happier. Before you know it, business will become fun again for everyone involved. 

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