This may surprise a great many of you, but Special Operators in the military gossip more than the fine ladies who host ABC’s “The View”.
We call it “RUMINT” which stands for “Rumor Intelligence”.
Where are we deploying and when? For how long? Who got promoted? Did you hear what happened to Bob? Why is he in charge? Jerry missed the run this morning, again…
If not controlled RUMINT will derail a unit’s motivation. I wish I was joking, but sadly, it happens more than I’d like to admit.
Thankfully, in hindsight, I can now see what a great job my old team leader, Pete, did to stamp out RUMINT from our team. His standards and professionalism were a major factor in making our team as strong as it was. Pete knew workplace drama has an adverse affect on his team’s productivity.
If you don’t control workplace drama it will kill your company. It will also kill the motivation of your team.
KNOW THE “FIVE C’s”
“It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speaks of persons instead of things.” Lawrence G. Lovasik
The “Five C’s” of workplace drama are: the Complainer, the Cynic, the Caregiver, Mr./Mrs. Confrontational, and last but certainly not least the Control Freak.
The Complainer is never happy no matter what you do. You can never do enough to make them happy. It may seem innocuous at first, but over time the toll with show on others who work in proximity to them.
You can tell The Cynic by their cutting and sarcastic remarks that undermine the motivation of others. Cynics are usually very bright and like to show off their knowledge to those they consider beneath them.
The Caregiver is too concerned with everyone else to get their work done. Caregivers feel they do nothing wrong, but often these people are the very epicenter of workplace gossip. The main problem with the Caregiver is they often inadvertently invite gossip from other employees.
Mr./Mrs. Confrontational puts everyone on edge the moment they walk into the room. You can count on them to start trouble. Sometimes they double as a cynic. Trust me when I tell you they take great pride and enjoyment in knowing the havoc they wreak upon the organization.
The Control Freak is a one person show. These people distrust their coworkers and often secretly harbor resentment of others they can’t trust. Often Control Freaks are the subject of much workplace drama and gossip.
STAMP IT OUT
“Gossip is a very dangerous tool. We should be more wary of the gossiper, and not the gossip they’re trying to relay to you.” John Lydon
In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey lays out five things that will kill your company. They are: 1. Lack of intention and thoroughness about communication. 2. Lack of intention and thoroughness about goal setting and shared purpose. 3. Gossip. 4. Unresolved Disagreements. 5. Sanctioned Incompetence.
Look at that closely for a moment. Two of the five things Dave lists as organization killers are issues of workplace drama.
But he also has a solution. Dave tells us later in the book that he will fire an employee after a single warning for gossip. Yes, you read that correctly, a SINGLE warning before termination.
Now, everyone, that is exactly how you enforce a no drama policy at the office.
The Lampo Group, Dave Ramsey’s company, is so intent on keeping the company culture intact and comfortable for all employees that they fire people who gossip. I understand this is a harsh policy, but the rules are clearly communicated throughout the company. It’s a hard ugly truth, but sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of “the one.”
TAKE A HARD LOOK INSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION
“Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of Gossip.” Richard Steele
Be honest with yourself and you’ll admit no one enjoys working in a gossip-laden environment.
What steps are you taking to ensure all employees are engaging in productive work and not in mindless gossip? Enforce standards of professionalism and maintain those standards.
If firing an employee seems harsh you can still counsel them and let them know gossip won’t be tolerated.
Don’t let RUMINT derail your organization, because if you allow it to run free it will.