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Performance Issues: Addressing Office Gossip

A performance issue we’ve all come across is the office gossip. The person who takes on the role of behaving like CNN to make sure everyone else hears the "news." We all have the person or people in the office who spread gossip and thrive on talking about others. This has the effect of making people feel unsafe; "will I be the target of gossip next?" We also know it wastes time as people become disengaged from the work and focused on the gossip topic of the day. There are usually a handful of people who are the initiators of gossip and the only way to stop it from happening is to address the issue directly with the individual.  Here are a few talking points to use when addressing the gossiping employee:

"While it’s only natural to be interested in what’s going on in other people’s lives, I’d like you to resist the temptation to share personal information that you may be privy to or have learned from others."


"I need for you to hold onto personal information that you may have come across. I’d like for you to bypass the temptation to share that kind of information with others."

Now you could just as easily say, "I need for you to stop gossiping" but that will most likely be met with a myriad of excuses.  So, try translating what you don’t want, "gossiping" into a statement that describes what you do want.

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