Dealing with Gossip at Work

Managing Gossip in the Workplace

Managing Gossip in the Workplace

Gossip in the workplace is very damaging to any relationship. If left unchecked, gossip can spill over and infect the entire team. If not handled properly, gossip can create a negative atmosphere that divides people into camps, creates tension or in extreme cases even fear among coworkers. Ultimately, the productivity of your entire team suffers.

When you identify an issue with gossip, you should tackle it as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to keep five principles from William Glasser’s Choice Theory in mind:

  1. You can’t make anyone do anything
  2. No one changes anything until they see the good in it for them
  3. Everyone wants to be highly regarded
  4. All behaving is the person’s best attempt in the moment to feel good
  5. Be as transparent as possible


Especially that last one is important for managers: Tell the truth in an open but kind way to gain the respect and trust of your staff. Tell them who you are, what you stand for, what you ask of them, and what you will and won’t do for your employees. You act as a mirror, observing performance and providing feedback. You spark self-evaluation with your staff to consider what is working, what isn’t, what they want and what’s involved in building better relationships. You may want to ask your team to do their part to stamp out gossip or any other destructive or cruel behaviors.

We Are All Different

Another way that you can curb gossip is by increasing everyone’s understanding of how people are alike and how they are different. According to William Marston, there are four fundamental traits that impact our behaviors in a different way. These traits are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. He put them in a model that you might know as DiSC. Everyone has some of these DiSC traits, but behaviors that relate to one trait may come naturally to you while that same behavior doesn’t resonate with others. Understanding these traits will help you to become aware of your own behavior and the behavior of coworkers. This awareness can open the doors to a more functional work environment free of gossip.

InterAction Training offers a variety of DiSC products. The EverythingDiSC profiles listed below cater toward the unique situation you are in. Each will give you in-depth knowledge of your inclination towards the distinct DiSC styles.

Ready to take teamwork up a notch? InterAction Training employs two Certified Everything DiSC facilitators that can help you improve your working relationships via a customized team development program. Reach out to us to see how we can help!


Still learning,

Honey Shelton