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What’s the Harm in a Little Office Gossip?

Office Gossip
Office Gossip

What is Gossip?

The noun version of gossip

Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

We can likely agree that most office gossip is not complimentary.   

So  we might label gossip as “covert diminishment.”  For this discussion, here are two more detailed criteria.  

  • Statements made about another person with negative intent.  
  • Or, statements made about another person that you would not share verbatim in the presence of that person.

While the focus here is on Office Gossip, the definitions apply for all relationships.

“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”  – Joseph Conrad


Why do People engage in Office Gossip?

There’s a multitude of motives for gossiping.  Some quick examples…

These are general reasons.  A more insightful and personal question is…

Why do YOU Gossip?

Do your motives match some of the above. Or do you have other reasons?  

Remember: what gets rewarded, gets repeated.  If gossip is providing you with fulfillment on some level.  And that fulfillment can create a blind spot for the damage you’re doing to yourself and those who you diminish.  

If you’re genuinely committed to being a more effective leader, you need to be aware of when and why you’re doing it.  What better way that to ask and answer this question for yourself?  


Why NOT Gossip?

Let’s answer this with some selfish questions.

  • How do you want to be perceived by your important relationships?
  • How important is trust in your role as a leader?
  • What does your gossiping say about your level of integrity?

Why would you so readily put your reputation at risk?  

Last but not least, how are the feelings and reputations of others effected by your gossip?    

Food For Thought


Whenever you point your finger in the direction of someone else, there are four others pointing in the other direction.

From an Inspiring Leadership Handbook

This topic was inspired by the book The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership.  

Ending gossip is Commitment #5, quoted below. The book goes into greater detail.  

“I commit to ending gossip, talking directly to people with whom I have a concern, and encouraging others to talk directly to people with whom they have a concern. “

from The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership 

What are the other 14 Commitments of a Conscious Leader? Maybe you should read or listen to the book.

The button or the book image links to Amazon (I earn a small commission)  

One Final Word

A reputation is a terrible thing to squander.  So you consider when and why for gossip, to heed my one word warning sign recommendation.  

Stop Sign

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