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Workplace Engagement InsightsLatest Employee Engagement NewsWorkplace EngagementRumours and Gossip: What Does Your Company Culture Permit?

Rumours and Gossip: What Does Your Company Culture Permit?

I recently watched a favorite movie: Doubt, starring Meryl Streep and Seymour Hoffman. The movie is a classic, and embedded in it is at least one lesson worth repeating.

In the movie, the Priest (played by Hoffman) confronts the issue of malicious gossip in a sermon. His narrative goes something like this: A parishioner went to confession and told the Irish Priest; “Father I have sinned. I was gossiping with some other ladies the other day.” The Priest told her to take a pillow, go on the roof of the apartment building and cut it open. She left to complete the task assigned by the Priest.

When she came back, he asked her what happened. She told him that the feathers blew all over the neighborhood. He then told her to go out and gather up all the feathers. She protested that this was not possible as they had spread far and wide.

This is what happens when we gossip.

Gossip in the Workplace

How do you deal with gossip in your workplace culture?

What do you, as a leader, do when an employee arrives in your office with a complaint about another employee? Do you listen and then deal with it yourself? Or do you ask the person whether they have gone directly to the other party to deal with it?

Leaders must set the example in the workplace for handling these issues in productive way that protects all parties. Whichever choice you make, you are sending a clear message. By not encouraging people to engage with their issues directly and ensuring to do so yourself, you are condoning a gossip culture.

And how will you gather up those feathers?


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Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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