Contrary to popular opinion, office gossip actually goes in two ways: negative and positive. It all comes down to your reaction as a manager (or an employee) that can either help or negate certain gossip situations.
In a Forbes feature, it’s the manager’s duty to secure the department’s goals and objectives. This includes getting involved in situations that are out of your comfort zone, like meeting with your team and actively pursuing a positive work environment.
Unfortunately, most managerial activities create tension and drama among employees that can lead to their productivity and liability issues.
Here are simple ways to minimize or ultimately kill office drama:
- Allow yourself to second-guess your employees’ intentions.
Let’s start with a story. Imagine a paranoid colleague in the workplace. The paranoid colleague assumes that everyone is suspicious and out to get him. Therefore repressing his trust and validation towards his fellow employees, who, in return, begin to question his actions.
Other colleagues caught up on the mishap as coworkers started gossiping about his “bad” behavior instead of withholding their judgment. Miscommunication and a difficult professional relationship with each other were the results of this behavior in which a great amount of time and effort came to waste on a daily basis.
If this was handled differently, say, with a positive assumption, the outcome would be represented with ease and success. Problems would be addressed and resolved in a pleasant manner. Disagreements or unfulfilled commitments are carried out diplomatically through sharing feedback and providing support for each other.
To put simply, give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, the impact of negative assumptions is just as powerful as having a positive mindset.
- Meet with your staff member and address the issue on a personal level.
If a negative situation has been going on for too long, it’s time to talk to your employee on a personal note. Again, give them the benefit of the doubt and talk to them not as their manager, but as their friend.
Being empathic is the key to good leadership. You’ll never know what your colleague is going through unless you ask. Your goal here is to make them understand the consequences if their bad behavior continues, which can be either of the following:
Demotion; or ultimately
The last thing you want is to lose a coworker, which could say a lot about your reputation as a manager. Take note that it’s your responsibility to create a place for trust, partnership, and even friendly consultation with your colleagues.
- Encourage a positive and effective work behavior.
Miscommunication and strained professional relationships can cost you money and loss of opportunities, which will have a negative effect on the flow of your business.
Influencing a break from negative to positive gossip is not just good for your colleagues but for your business as a whole, as well–they will look forward to your stories that can spark a change in their behavior. A leader should practice what he preach so that the rest will follow his example. This is an appealing quality that often result in healthier work relationships and better productivity.
Like most people, we assume the best intentions from our relationships, whether personal, familial or professional.
It’s no doubt that this is a tough job for introverted managers, even extroverted ones, because you’re encouraging office morale here. But then again, make the best use out of empathy. It is the only strongest asset that enables you to understand your employees better and will help you move your business forward.
However, aside from managing office gossip, there are also other issues in the workplace that needs addressing. Once of which is having the best organizational system that suits your employees. Online platforms like PhilLife’s Business and Management Hub can help you know more about forming, growing, and managing organizations. Check it out if you want to know more about managing people and systems in the workplace.
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