Office Gossip in the Age of Technology – They Must be Stupid!

While office gossip is traditionally associated with the stereotypical water cooler, today, less than 1% of office gossip takes place there. In fact, about a third of modern office gossip takes place in the break room, another third at desks or workstations, and the final third through technology such as work or personal email, instant messaging, texting, and social media posts. More often than not, companies that employ workers who gossip more tend to have lower morale. More importantly, more than 90% of employees who participate in office gossip tout that there is an overwhelming communication breakdown from the management team, causing office chit chat to be the only way to spread any kind of information at all.
Office gossip can be hurtful, personally and professionally damaging, and time consuming. Most offices with a gossip problem report that each employee spends nearly 3 hours each week spreading rumors rather than working. While it is important for workers to have a healthy outlet for their frustrations, creating or joining a rumor mill is merely a way to sidestep good healthy office communication, a problem that almost always stems from a lack of coherency at the top of the food-chain.


Our extensive research, over the past thirteen years, show us that more than 99% of those in the workplace have never been trained on what it means to communicate effectively. This also means that most do not have an understanding or have never been taught that communication is ‘generative’ in nature. That is, whenever a person communicates, either with themself or with others, they are generating a ‘future’ for themself and the other employees. People in authority and people with power in the form of ‘street cred’ can, through the act of declaring, change the future in a profound way for other employees and for themselves. Being ‘blind’ to the way that the act of ‘declaring an assessment’ produces a mood and generates the future doesn’t give you a pass. It only means that you may have many employees literally ‘killing your company’ from the inside.


Example: you hire a new employee and two long term employees with ‘street cred’ are having a discussion that others are privy to, about how ‘stupid’ the new hire is.


This does two things; First, whenever we make assessments about others, those assessments say more about us, then they do about the target of the assessment. Secondly, assessments in the form of declaration, literally alter the future possibilities for all involved. For instance, after the declaration, “He’s really pretty stupid!” has been spoken, what are the odds that this new hire will be included in mission critical project in the future? Not likely. What he may need is some training and coaching on how to do things around the new company. The negative assessment also says a lot about the hiring practices of the company and in the same breath all the other employees.


People making those kinds of statements about others don’t think about all the ramifications of their utterances. They must be stupid!


The Molloy Language Of Commitment™ program educates people with respect to the power and generative nature of communication. It is also designed so that ‘leadership teams’ can adopt simple yet powerful ‘Standards For Effective Communication’ inside their companies. Molloy addresses the issue of sarcasm and gossip during the training process.