Resolving Conflict From Gossip in the Workplace
Employees talking and gossiping is a natural part of the work day. Unfortunately, conflict can arise from gossiping in the work place. If gossip affects productivity or is affecting other employees, it needs to be addressed. It’s up to both employer and employee to prevent, and resolve these issues when they arise. Here are some tips on how to prevent and resolve conflict from gossiping in the work place:
Stay in the loop
Barring employees from interacting may negatively back fire and cause you to lose good employees. Pay attention to gossip that is circulating, and who it’s coming from, especially if certain employees have a history of stirring up trouble. Take note of where gossip is coming from and how it is affecting other employees. Check if the source of gossip is continually from certain employees, or a group of employees. If the issue is a continuing problem promptly monitor the employees in question to prevent conflict from happening in the future.
Update the employee handbook
Your employee handbook should address the issue of gossip, and have a procedure for the situation. A “don’t gossip” rule may not be effective. Warning employees that spreading rumors or slander will be punished and could result in them potentially being fired will make it clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
Keep an open door
Employees should feel they can come to you. Employees that feel they can speak to you are less likely to resort to more drastic measures. Let them know they can come and meet with you to address issues. An open line of communication lets your employees know you are dedicated to managing your team.
If an employee brings something to your attention, ask them to gather evidence before you take it forward. A witness or writings exchange with the other party can help you to understand the issues and fully address it the first time. Let them know you care about them and want to resolve the issue. We are all working as a team.
Conflict that is minor, or limited to a small group can be simply resolved by making it possible for the employee to avoid the person or persons in question. This can often resolve the issue without additional action. Stopping the problem before it become serious can save you from wasting your time on these issues. This can resolve conflict that doesn’t have too much of an adverse effect on the employee’s happiness or productivity.
If the rumors continue and cause trouble for your employees, you may need to take further action. Evidence will be needed before you can address the problem. Management may need to be involve or the HR department if the conflict becomes a serious problem. This depends on what’s being said and how far and fast it’s spreading. Refer to the employee handbook and warn that spreading rumors or slander will be punished and could result in them potentially being fired.
If a conflict is between employees that work near each other or on the same projects, consider moving them away from each other. This prevents the parties from spending time together and may resolve the problem. Assign the parties more task temporally to keep them focused on work. A few tasks can suffice to direct their attention to their job. This should not appear to be a punishment, but approach it as an opportunity for the employee to shine and contribute to the company.
Act as a mediator
Consider acting as a mediator to help them through the issue. Open communication with both person or persons involved and find a resolution. You’ll find that the coworker or coworkers in question never intended to hurt the employee and will apologize.
Being able to resolve conflict in your team is an important part of being a good leader. Gossiping is part of the work place, but when it interferes with productivity, it becomes a problem. An open line of communication can show your employees you are dedicated to their success and dedicated to managing your team.