According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, up to 90% of workplace conversation is gossip. It appears that this type of natural human interaction is driven by the desire to warn group members against the harmful or inappropriate behavior of others. So not all gossip is strictly bad, but a few rules for the modern workplace are important:
1) Don’t try to eradicate gossip or scold others for engaging in it. Judging others won’t work. Instead model proper behavior for others.
2) If you gossip, do so in small doses. Researchers say those who gossip excessively or with too many people are perceived as untrustworthy.
3) Become a listener rather than a talker.
4) Keep your own comments about others positive and brief.
5) Hesitate to engage in trivial gossip about others.
6) Avoid taking sides in personal disputes.
7) Evaluate trustworthiness and credibility of others before acting on gossip.
8) Not everything you hear is true—ask follow-up questions.
9) Walk away when gossip becomes nasty or personal or part of an employee’s consistent bad-mouthing of others.
Adapted from UTEAP Frontline Employee