Gossip is defined as; “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”
I’ll add one more component; when the person in question is diminished by the content of the conversation.
Gossip can be cancerous is an organization.
It’s often been amazing to me how many unfounded rumors can circulate around a hotel, based on absolutely no facts, but strictly on the basis of conversations pieced together by people who think they know what’s going on, and who then go about telling everyone as a point of fact.
And it’s never good news, what these people are spreading around amongst the team, and that is one of the ways in which I draw the comparison to cancer, which I also realize is a serious topic unto itself. But think about it, it starts out as a whisper between one person and another, and then it starts to spread, conversations in the designated smoking area, in the staff cafeteria, and one by one individuals and groups are infected by this garbage. And once it has taken root, it’s twice as hard to remove.
It’s one of the things that I have found frustrating, on occasion, as a General Manager, when a junior manager has approached me and told me of a conversation that they have heard, and I have asked them what they did about it, only to have them respond by telling me that they did not contribute to the conversation, as if that was enough.
What you permit, you promote.
Doing nothing, taking no action, is not the same as taking action. Even in your silence you are speaking, loud and clear.
Don’t tolerate gossip. Make it clear that it is not acceptable in your business, as a part of your culture. If people are the foundation of your business, your culture, what can be more important than preserving their self-esteem and supporting them in whatever they may be facing?
“The time is always right to do what is right.” - Martin Luther King Jr.