News flash! Gossip is not something that just women do. Many men gossip as well, they just call it something else.
I call gossip the Poison Triangle of Mistrust because it usually involves two people talking about a third person. Haven’t we all walked by when somebody was talking about us? Remember how that felt? How much did you trust the people who were talking about you? How much did you want to communicate or work with any of them? Nothing shreds trust faster than gossip. Imagine the effect gossip has on team performance and patient experience.
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The sad truth is that gossip happens because it is often tolerated without consequences. A No Gossip Zone office culture not only raises trust and morale, it elevates communication, team performance, patient experience, and your bottom line! This is big stuff, and offers plenty of reasons to adopt a No GossipZone office.
Here are four steps to help you nurture a No Gossip Zone.
Start with a team meeting. Have the entire team attend. Establish the definition of gossip — anything that is negative or private about another person that they do not want others to know. Also, listening to the gossip makes one just as responsible as the person talking. If they have no one to tell the gossip stops. We may think venting or blowing off steam is okay and is not considered gossip, but in most cases it is gossip. Here is a good qualifier to ask yourself — if the person I’m blowing off steam about heard me, how would he or she feel?
The entire team should verbally commit to each other to support a no gossip culture and stop it when it occurs. Have the team choose a word or phrase they will say if someone starts gossiping. Some of my clients say peace,stop, please take it to the source, or even remember we said we weren’t going to gossip. It can be anything as long as everyone knows the phrase.
Actually say the phrase or word when someone starts gossiping. It is your responsibility to try to stop the gossip even if you’re just near people who are gossiping. In a respectful manner ask them to stop by using the word or phrase, and if necessary reinforce how hurtful gossip is to the team and practice. If they refuse to stop, inform management.
Management should hold the gossiping team members accountable to support the practice standard. It is important to have defined consequences for gossip just like any other practice standard. If the gossiping behavior continues it can lead to termination. Yes, gossip is a good enough reason to terminate someone!
The bottom line is that gossip affects trust, and trust is not just a social virtue. It greatly affects communication, team performance, patient experience, and the bottom line.
If you would like help creating a work environment you enjoy coming to every day contact Judy Kay Mausolf at 612-701-4922, or visit her website at www.PracticeSolutionsInc.net to learn more about other services offered.