Communication can stop gossip mill

Communication can stop gossip mill – Brief Article

Consultant Annette Simmons tells about visiting a large manufacturing facility where the level of vileness and vitriol was shocking.

It was a unionized workplace where management and labor were at odds. “People,” she says, “were saying alt sorts of nasty things behind each other’s backs.” When she called a meeting and asked key union and management leaders to voice their concerns, it turned out 31 of the 33 people in the room didn’t like the gossip and wanted the two people identified as the source to stop it. Once the silent majority had spoken and said gossip would no longer be tolerated, “it changed the entire atmosphere,” says Simmons. Developing a specific policy to deal with rumors and gossip is next to impossible, says this article, but direct confrontation is often effective. One HR professional says she regularly tracks down the alleged instigator and asks if they’re the source, and then deals with it on the spot. “If the person is guilty and admits it, I tell them to please stop, that it’s causing too many problems. If they claim not to be the source, I leave it at that. They’ve probably gotten the message anyway.” Deal with rum ors and gossip promptly, say experts. Speak to those involved individually and as a group, and schedule follow-up meetings. While some gossip may be harmless, when people are hurt and reputations damaged, it can sink the organization.

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