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Avoid the Workplace Rumor Mill

Entrepreneurship - Dave Ramsey
America's trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His three New York Times best-selling books - Financial Peace, More Than Enough and The Total Money Makeover - have sold more than 6 million copies combined. His latest book is EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches.

Avoid the Workplace Rumor Mill

Avoid the Workplace Rumor Mill

Forget your competition for a minute, and stop worrying about complicated government regulations. What may be harming your company more than anything else is something so commonplace, such an everyday thing, you’re probably not aware of its impact. I’m talking about office gossip.

How prevalent is negative chatter in today’s businesses? According to one survey of company executives, 84 percent said gossip is common in the workplace. Gossip has the power to wreck everything you’ve built. It kills morale, and it destroys unity, productivity, and creativity. It also causes employee turnover. So, how do you stop it? Here are a few ideas that may help kill the rumor mill.

Lead by example

Your first step for shutting down gossip is to look in the mirror. Are you guilty of talking negatively about someone on your team to another who is not a company leader? As the owner (or leader) of your company, your team watches everything you do and will follow your example.

Avoid impulse communication with team members when you are angry or upset. Show your staff through your own actions that gossip will not be tolerated. And yes, email and text communication count, too, when it comes to gossip.

Put your foot down

The easiest way to stop negative talk is to create a strict no-gossip policy. Then, have a meeting and explain that if someone gossips, they’re risking their job. It needs to be that serious. At my company, an offender is warned once. If there’s a second infraction, they’re fired.

The bottom line? Gossip is a cancer. Sometimes the only way to keep it from spreading is to cut it out.

Be transparent

One of the main causes of gossip at a company is lack of communication. People want to know what’s going on and why. If they don’t, fear, frustration, and anger set in—and the talk begins.

Trust your team, and create a culture of communication. When in doubt, always overshare. Just make certain you’re not betraying confidences or crossing the gossip line.

Also, schedule a mandatory weekly staff meeting for your entire team. For smaller companies, have each team member share something that’s happening. For larger businesses, make sure you and your leaders give a report and update the team on whatever’s going on at the time. Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations. Let everyone know what’s going on, the good and the bad. You’ll be amazed at the synergy it creates.

The first step in creating a unified team is to stop the gossip. When you do, you’ll immediately see a difference as your team becomes much more comfortable and a lot less frustrated!

Read other business articles by Dave

Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. His newest best-seller, Smart Money Smart Kids, was written with his daughter Rachel Cruze, and recently debuted at #1. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at

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