It’s Not “Unprofessional” to Gossip at work
Or Is It?
This is the eye grabbing title of a recent article in Harvard Business Review.
The article immediately grabbed my eye, because I have always felt that gossip at work is something that should never be tolerated, yet this article has opened me up a bit on the subject.
In life and in the world of leadership coaching, I have never been a fan of a great deal of gossip at work (or in social circles), because I believe that:
- About 99% of the time, gossip is delivered by a third party. I don’t really want to believe much that does not come straight out of the horse’s mouth.
- By the time I hear gossip, I wonder how much the story has been changed, watered down or embellished
- I always wonder about the source…gossip always seems to come to me from the same people, so it makes me wonder about their motives.
- I have seen gossip at work destroy families and businesses.
The recent HBR article suggests that managers and leaders often try to squelch gossip at work without addressing the deep rooted problem that is generating it…that gossip is a symptom of a much larger issue and by listening closely, a leader can work to resolve the big problem at the root.
I know that everyone gossips…we all do in one way or another. And…managers and leaders DO gossip. My question today, is this: Do you agree that workplace gossip can be professional if addressed head on?