This Isn’t High School. It’s A Business. – How to Deal with Drama in the Workplace

What comes to mind when you think of gossip? High school, right?  As much as we thought high school drama was behind us, this type of behavior still takes place in most workplaces.

Every business organization is full of unique people with different backgrounds and personalities. With diversity comes disagreement, which can cause conflicts between employees. Depending on the severity of the situation, drama can become uncontrollable and lead to negative effects within your organization. Common outcomes include a decrease in employee productivity, a decline in employee retention rates and a loss of employee engagement. Not only is this breaking down your company’s foundation, but employees become resentful, distressed, and frustrated. As the focus of your organization is dwindling, you begin to lose hope as a manager.

DecisionHR wants to ensure that your business is operating efficiently without petty drama getting in the way. Here are just a few ways that you can tackle negative office gossip.

Tip #1: Address The Gossiper

Point out the specific gossipers in the office and address them individually, focusing on the issues. Do this in a confidential area, so that no one is watching or listening. It’s important that you make them understand that their actions are directly causing conflict. Warn each employee involved of the consequences that will be enforced if the instances are repeated.

Tip #2: Encourage Positive Gossip

As soon as you address the perpetrators directly, make sure that the rest of your team is aware of the situation. This can be done in a team meeting by making gossip one of the topics of discussion. Explain the effects of negative gossip and then encourage the team to spread positive gossip. For example, have employees praise each other on a job well done. Another way to encourage positive gossip can be in the form of expressing positive stories with one another that have happened in the workplace.

Tip #3: Act as an Example

As the manager, you need to set the example for what behaviors are acceptable in the office. Your employees will look up to you as a role model, so you need to ensure that you are acting the way you want your employees to act at all times.

Tip #4: Keep it Confidential

When initially dealing with negative gossip, don’t ever acknowledge it in an email blast to the company or during a large company meeting. Addressing an enormous amount of people won’t solve the issue and it might even concern the employees that you aren’t being professional. Speak to the managers of each department about the issue, and train them on how to confront individual gossipers within their department.

Fortunately, not all gossip is negative and as a manager, you should encourage and promote positive gossip among your organization. DecisionHR believes that this will not only create a positive work environment for your employees, but it will boost productivity in the workplace. Maintain an efficient work environment and don’t let negative gossip get out of hand. If you want more information on how to tackle negative gossip in your workplace, contact your HR Business Partner.