I Heard it Through
the Grapevine”
Preventing Workplace Gossip

Alicia Stadtlander, Ben Jackson, Brigham Van Auken,
Curtis ...
Gossip Defined
Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically
involving details that are no...
The 20:20 Shift
In a recent study, gossip had a direct correlation to
generosity:
When compliments present: 20% increase i...
Positive Reinforcement
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304392704576373641168929846

Academic:

http://...
Maintain Confidentiality
•
•
•

We maintain company information
private, so why not information about
our teammates?
Not a...
Stay Positive
•
•
•

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
o Compliments increase cooperation.
o Gossip de...
The New York Times Test
•
•

Would you want your CEO to read what you
said on the cover of The New York Times?
An extensio...
Spread Information Which Helps, Not Hurts
•
•
•
•
•

Is the information shared helping your fellow
teammates?
Will the inf...
Be Busy
•
•
•

Don’t be a statistic to gossip inefficiency:
o 61% of the workforce engages in gossip.
o An individual aver...
Oh, did you also hear the one about...

Practical Application 2
How Gossip Drains Your Productivity and How to Decrease Go...
Case Study 1

Rep 1
Hey, did you hear what Betty did?
She keeps putting cases back into the General queue.
Rep 2
Oh I love...
Case Study 2
Rep 1
So Chris was with us at happy hour on Friday and he got WASTED!
Rep 2
Oh that's awful, I feel bad for h...
Case Study 3
Rep 1
Have you noticed how Sally always leaves early?
I don't think she works all of her hours.
Rep 2
Really?...
Sources
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/07/09/cb.5.gossip.guidelines/

http://www.garfinkleexecutivecoaching.com/top10wayst...
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I Heard it Through the Grapevine: Preventing Workplace Gossip

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How to prevent and reduce workplace gossip to increase productivity.

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I Heard it Through the Grapevine: Preventing Workplace Gossip

  1. 1. I Heard it Through the Grapevine” Preventing Workplace Gossip Alicia Stadtlander, Ben Jackson, Brigham Van Auken, Curtis Coatman, Joshua Kaan, Kelsey Ferris, & Nate Sullivan
  2. 2. Gossip Defined Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Why does it matter? • • • • • • • Lost productivity Erosion of trust and morale Increased anxiety among employees as rumors circulate without any clear information as to what is fact and what isn’t, Growing divisiveness among employees as people “take sides," Hurt feelings and reputations, Jeopardized chances for the gossipers' advancement as they are perceived as unprofessional Attrition as good employees leave the company due to the unhealthy work atmosphere.
  3. 3. The 20:20 Shift In a recent study, gossip had a direct correlation to generosity: When compliments present: 20% increase in willingness to help other participant (over baseline) When gossip present: 20% decrease in willingness to help as compared to baseline
  4. 4. Positive Reinforcement http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304392704576373641168929846 Academic: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~keltner/publications/kraus.huang.keltner.2010.pdf
  5. 5. Maintain Confidentiality • • • We maintain company information private, so why not information about our teammates? Not all information should pass through the grapevine. "The wise professional respects privileged information.” -Cynthia Kazalia, New Directions Career Center
  6. 6. Stay Positive • • • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. o Compliments increase cooperation. o Gossip decreases cooperation. Turn it around: Counter the negativity with positivity. How to counter gossip with positivity: 1. “[M]ake a ‘pre-emptive positive evaluation.’ A quick ‘Isn’t she doing a great job?’ might be enough to stop the attack.” 2. If the response is sarcasm (“Oh, real great job”), ask the person to clarify the statement while using a pleasant tone. 3. If the person persists, ask “Don’t we have some work to do here?” -Dr. Tim Hallett, Sociologist at Indiana University
  7. 7. The New York Times Test • • Would you want your CEO to read what you said on the cover of The New York Times? An extension to this test: o Do not gossip to or about superiors. o "You may not like a decision your boss or company higher-ups make, but gossiping [about it] will not get you points." -Susan Fletcher • Author of "Working in the Smart Zone." Do you want your brand to be as a gossip?
  8. 8. Spread Information Which Helps, Not Hurts • • • • • Is the information shared helping your fellow teammates? Will the information help increase productivity? Is the information helping the organization? Stamp out sour grapes behavior. Focus on being a good GRAPE: o G – Gentle o R – Realistic o A – Affective o P – Punctual o E – Exact
  9. 9. Be Busy • • • Don’t be a statistic to gossip inefficiency: o 61% of the workforce engages in gossip. o An individual averages 65 hours per year gossipping. Gossips want attention- being busy with work means you won’t be available to participate in gossip. The Triple Advantage of Being Busy: 1. Maintaining productivity. 2. More time in your day. 3. Not available to participate in gossip.
  10. 10. Oh, did you also hear the one about... Practical Application 2 How Gossip Drains Your Productivity and How to Decrease Gossip 1. Measure Your Participation in Gossip o Keep a count for 5 days of how often you engaged in gossip. o Is gossipping helping you increase your productivity? 2. Decrease Your Participation in Gossip o Once you have the number of times you engaged in gossip, work on reducing your gossip count for each 5 day period going forward until the count reaches 0. 3. Reflect o Do you want to be gossiped about as the company gossip? o Do you want your productivity hindered because of engagement in gossip? o Assess the change in productivity before and after the above test.
  11. 11. Case Study 1 Rep 1 Hey, did you hear what Betty did? She keeps putting cases back into the General queue. Rep 2 Oh I love Betty! I wonder why she would do that. Rep 1 I don't know, but I'm sure it's because she didn't want to work the cases. Rep 2 There's probably a good reason. She may not have known not to do that. Let's talk with her and make sure she knows where she can find resources or that she can ask us for help.
  12. 12. Case Study 2 Rep 1 So Chris was with us at happy hour on Friday and he got WASTED! Rep 2 Oh that's awful, I feel bad for him. Rep 1 Yea, it was pretty scandalous! Rep 2 In my experience, that can happen when people are trying to blow off steam. I hope he's ok. Has anyone asked if he's alright? Rep 1 Um, I don't know. Rep 2 Let's go ask if there's anything troubling him. We want him to at least know he's got people here he can lean on if somethings the matter outside of work.
  13. 13. Case Study 3 Rep 1 Have you noticed how Sally always leaves early? I don't think she works all of her hours. Rep 2 Really? I'm surprised that you've picked up on that. Rep 1 Well, it's not hard to notice. Rep 2 She probably has something going on in the evenings. Have you asked her about it? Rep 1 No. Rep 2 She might be coming in early too. Either way, it could be an issue between Sally and her manager. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt, but if it concerns you it wouldn't hurt to ask her about it in a tactful way.
  14. 14. Sources http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/07/09/cb.5.gossip.guidelines/ http://www.garfinkleexecutivecoaching.com/top10waystohandlegossipintheworkplace/ http://keeping-chaos-at-bay.com/tag/gossip/ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/science/16tier.html?_r=0 http://www.easeatwork.com/gossip-in-the-workplace-impact-can-be-costly/ http://blogs.hbr.org/2010/10/gossip-kills-possibility/ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/science/03tier.html?_r=0 https://www.openforum.com/articles/vocal-grooming-gossiping-in-the-workplace/

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