Gossip control

How managers can clip the grapevine in their workplace.

Office gossip is a time-honoured water-cooler tradition. Wherever you have people, you will have gossip. Rumour has it, though, that gossip can be a killer. Toronto-based management consultant Cy Charney, author of The Instant Manager, offers these tips to control the negative side of gossip.

1. Train all staff in assertiveness and conflict resolution so they can deal with their differences in a mature, adult fashion.

2. Set an example. Don't gossip or tolerate bad-mouthing others.

3. Keep everyone focused on the objectives of the work area. Make sure they feel like a team, enjoy work and are treated like adults.

4. Develop a values statement that clearly identifies the importance of mutual support and respect.

5. Take the attitude that it is better to give too much information than too little.

6. Anticipate the issues that might provoke negative gossip. Deal with them immediately.