The dangers of workplace gossip in public safety

From workplace tension to high turnover, in Today's Tip from Gordon Graham, learn about the damaging effect gossip can have in public safety

Gordon Graham here with Today's Tip from Lexipol. 

Today's tip is for everybody in public safety. I want to talk about the rumor mill or the grapevine.

I've got an old joke for you: How do we get information? Telephone, telegraph or tell-a-cop. Gossip – all humans participate in some form of gossip. Workplace chatting, group texts, venting about a coworker over lunch.

Why do we gossip? Some researchers say that gossip helped our ancestors survive. It creates bonds between humans. Sharing information is the ultimate form of socializing.

You know what? Gossip is not always negative. If someone tells you your reputation preceded you, they may have heard some good things about you. Problems only arise when people disseminate untrue or negative information.

What's the big deal? This can cause a gradual deterioration of trust and morale. There may be a decline in productivity when there's negativity in the workplace. It can increase anxiety and tension. This may result in a turnover of personnel and a loss of good, solid talent.

When negative gossip begins, please, be assertive. Walk away, or change the subject. Or ask, "How do you know that's true? How do you really know that's true?"

Finally, I know, you've heard this before, but if you can't say something good, don't say anything at all. Demonstrate respect for your coworkers and for yourself; your reputation and the reputation of your agency depend on it. 

That's for Today's Tip from Lexipol. I'm Gordon Graham, signing off. 

Get more tips from Gordon here.

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