It may be human nature for people to talk about each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. It is impossible to create a unified team with a bunch of gossips. Gossip pushes people apart instead of pulling them together, and everyone knows you can’t trust a gossip.
Gossip is unfair to everyone involved. It’s unfair to the gossipers because they must toil in a problem situation with no hope of resolution. It’s unfair to others who hear the gossip because it undermines passion for their work, confidence in their leadership and belief in your vision. It’s also unfair to you because you aren’t given the opportunity to address a problem within your business.
That’s why there is a no-gossip policy at Dave’s company. Gossip is defined as discussing anything negative with someone who can’t help solve the problem. If you’re having computer problems, and IT is slow about helping you, you don’t complain about it to the sales rep in the break room. You talk to your leader because he or she can and will do something about it.
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If a team member is discovered gossiping, they receive one warning. After that they’re fired, and, yes, Dave has fired people for gossiping and will do it again to keep it out of his company.
Negative stuff will happen. That's inevitable. The negatives may be about a person or a process. Either way, those issues need to be handed to a leader. If you're mad at your manager, talk to another leader about it. Complaining to your teammates is disloyalty, and it fosters a negative spirit that will trash the organization.
Dave and his team have a motto: Negatives go up; positives come down. Team members love it. They not only adhere to it, they enforce it. They are, after all, the real beneficiaries of that policy. They can point to that rule with pride and cut gossip off before it has a chance to do any damage.
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