It’s not just that the day starts off with all the conjecture of what happened to who last night, or the commentary on the actions of whomever in the room. Even the loss of productivity is secondary to the deep effect gossip has on your practice’s morale and ultimately, culture. At this point, you may be whispering (to yourself, of course) “no, it’s not good, but there is little I can do about it.” Now, please say out loud – “Yes, there is something I can do about gossip.” And, you can start right now.
- This is one item that you shouldn’t keep quiet. Implement a policy at a team meeting and explain what is and is not acceptable, how to handle a situation if a team member begins to engage in gossip. Then, emphasize the importance by asking each team member to sign the policy.
- Chances are you know who your primary gossip perpetrators and a one on one discussion to reinforce expectations is a good idea.
- Clarify for everyone what gossip looks like and contains – rumors, unproductive talk about others, speculation on other team members, statements made to diminish another team member, unprofessional commentary on the private lives, looks or action.
- Emphasize with your team that it can be a habit that must be broken and to be respectful of others and professional in our interactions fosters a more positive and productive workplace.
Who can disagree with the benefits? Go forward with the understanding that it takes two (or more) to make it gossip. If you don’t engage in gossip, it will be a short conversation, yet a big step in creating a culture that values the team, not tears them down.