Have you heard the rumors that gossip is a productivity killer? (See what we did there?) Turns out regular and malicious gossip can kill reputations, morale, trust, and time, yet nearly all of us do it. One study found 14.6% of all inter-office email was gossip–that adds up to about 100 hours per employee per year. (And we have to wonder of that 14.6%, how many times did the sender accidentally reply to everyone?)
Gossip and rumors are hard to stop, but there are ways to lessen the effects. One obvious way is to provide enough information so that people don’t have to guess and worry. Creating an environment where people can speak directly and improving relationships also decreases the need to “vent.”
We kill gossip by teaching people how to personally identify with the people around them and to share messages they didn’t previously dare share.