Stop the Gossip!
Rumors and assumptions serve no good or have any purpose in business.
A lot is written about rumors and assumptions and how bad they can be. Yet, all around, whether in personal lives or workplaces, gossip continues.
This morning, a friend shared bits and pieces about a recent staff meeting at her workplace. There were rumors about what those who work at home are “actually” doing versus what they should be doing. She was taken aback by the people who assume at-home workers sit around watching Netflix while bingeing on bon-bons. As this staff meeting began to close, it was clear to my friend that the rumors were not going to be addressed. So, with a deep breath, she spoke up and took on the elephant in the room. After the meeting, she received texts and calls thanking her for the courage to speak up.
In my experiences of running a business from home, a lot of people don’t think I put in 40 hours a week. Yes, you can see me playing “mom taxi” or carting kids here and there, or “flitting” around town. Little do people know that most of my billable hours are put in while kids sleep. And, my flitting around town is actually me doing work such as getting all the equipment and necessities moved into a building for my new business, a coworking space. But people assume. We all know what the word assume really means, but in case you need reminding, “it makes an a$*# out of u and me.”
This week, a rumor about a local business and its owner was shared with me. Rather than revel in this new information and pressing for more, I picked up the phone and went straight to the source. The rumor was far from the truth, so I was able to set at least one person straight. The business owner was appreciative and said, “Thanks for asking me directly, I appreciate that. I hate how people spread gossip. What you heard is totally not true.”
In companies with more than two people, rumors are inevitable. It happens, there is no denying this. But whether or not you partake is a choice you make. Doing what's right isn’t always fun or easy.
As a manager, if a pattern is noticed and the rumor always comes from the same individual, is it time for discipline? Maybe yes. A disciplinary process also shows others that gossiping is a waste of time and rarely is the truth.
Is the business itself the topic of the rumor? If so it is time to address the instability employees are most likely feeling because of it.
Last, set a good example for others and do not participate in spreading assumptions and rumors. Do better. Be better. Get to work.