Office gossips can reduce morale, cause hostility and decrease productivity. Put an end to the rumor mill by doing the following:
- Address it publicly. When the rumor mill kicks up, squash it publicly. Be clear that you will not tolerate gossip. If there is a specific rumor, debunk it if it is wrong or explain it if you are able to.
- Address it privately. If you’re aware of the source, speak directly to the employee. Tell the employee you expect the rumors to stop. Lay out future consequences if the gossip continues.
- Be honest and timely. Don’t withhold information from employees unless necessary. Uncertainty fuels speculation and rumors.
- Be a role model. Decline to comment on gossipy statements. Don’t allow employees to fish for information.
- Build your team. boosts morale and can naturally defeat the rumor mill.
— Adapted from “How to Control Rumors at Work,” Diane Steinbeck, http://smallbusiness.chron.com.