Gossip your way to a pink slip

Posted September 1, 2009 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but I still haven’t managed to wrap my brain around this morning’s Globe and Mail article titled: Office Therapy.  The article features a Q&A with Sam Chapman, author of a new book titled “The No-Gossip Zone”.   Not having read the book yet, I was none-the-less fascinated by a few of McGinn’s Q&A responses.

Chapman defines gossip as “something negative said outside the presence of a subject.”  When he put his “no gossip” rule into effect in his own organization (a pr firm), he ended up firing 3 people… who were caught complaining about his management style.

Hmmmmmm.  Sounds a little “dictatorish” to me.

Isn’t venting about the boss one of the natural rights of any direct report???  I mean, please, in exchange for you getting the bigger paycheque, fancier office, title and perks, isn’t it somewhat expected that your employees are going to let off a bit of steam about your from time to time?

Now, obviously, we’re not talking out and out sabotage here… what I’m talkig about is the natural venting that staff engage in when you’ve done something bone-headed.  Which, unless you’re absolutely perfect, is guaranteed to happen at least once in your illustrious leadership career.

Justifying the firing of 3 people because  of a “no gossip policy” smacks to me of a leader who has to come to terms with their own need for control.  And, does make me wonder… how did he even find outbout the alleged gossip in the first place?  Unless he’s got his workplace bugged, it must have come from, well, gossip!!

Encouraging your team to communicate openly and honestly with you is a good thing. Expecting that they’ll never feel the need to lampoon you from time to time is ridiculous.  And, don’t even get me started on his opinion on what to do when you’re sexually attracted to a co-workers.  Sheesh.  Who publishes these things?

Happy leading!


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