Gossip can be a force counter to the culture leaders want to build, potentially affecting
employees’ morale and efficiency. Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts for your management team to consider:
1) DO build a culture of positive gossip. Some gossip can be useful and even encouraging.
Achieving a milestone, overcoming a hurdle, or releasing a new product on the market
are all forms of positive company-related gossip that can improve employee engagement. Likewise, encourage positive gossip on an individual level. Recognize an employee who engineered an innovative way to take care of a difficult task or stayed after hours to help others meet a deadline.
2) DO maintain a policy of open communication with your team. Gossip is often born
from ambiguity – especially if there are shifts within a company. Keeping matters
transparent and straightforward leaves little room for speculation … and gossip.
3) DO persuade your managers to meet with the employees individually and privately.
Encourage participation and questions. Build ownership regarding the culture. Explain
the ramifications of their gossip on the company and its potential disruptiveness among
employees. Be clear about the risks to them if they continue (formal warnings,
demotion, termination), but provide employees an opportunity to improve their impact
on the culture.
4) DO offer a team workshop on gossip. Explain the differences between positive and
negative gossip. Illustrate how negative gossip can adversely impact the company,
while positive gossip can build up both the company and its employees.
1) DON’T go on the attack. A company-wide email or office meeting may offend those who
2) DON’T participate in gossip yourself. You are a beacon for the culture and set an
example to all employees.
3) DON’T be afraid to bring in outside help. If the management team has not been able to
significantly reduce the gossip in the company, consider engaging a consulting firm who
specializes in culture and change leadership.
4) DON’T allow gossip to cross the line into harassment or verbal bullying, this may put your
company in legal jeopardy.
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders, and has dedicated her career to helping them.
As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner
Contact Information: Feel free to email Dr. Nadine San Francisco Executive Coaching at