Top 4 Reasons Why People Gossip at Work

Why Do People Gossip At Work

These four reasons: fear, belonging, intimacy, and the desire to work with others who carry their own weight are the reasons people may choose to gossip.

What To Know About Gossip

Gossip is diminishing. It diminishes trust, reputation, focus, and inclusion. Gossip is incredibly detrimental to any organization. And, what often gets missed is why people gossip. But, before we answer the question, "Why do people gossip at work?" let's clear one thing up. We believe it is the rare person who proactively chooses to gossip simply to be mean.

The 4 Main Reasons People Gossip

1. People who feel insecure seek out comparison and validation.

If someone doesn't feel secure at work, they will likely compare themselves to others to determine if they're doing okay. And the only way to compare yourself to another and leave that comparison feeling secure is by having the other person somehow be less great than you.

2. People want to belong and be included.

If people believe they don’t have information others have, they will feel excluded and on the outside of the “inner circle.” Information is power. Everyone wants to be part of the team, to be included, and the easiest way to identify those who are part of a tribe are those who are “in the know.”

3. People crave intimacy and a sense of connection.

Because of the rapid pace we live in and the lack of real deal authentic communication with one another, many people crave a sense of genuine human connection and intimacy. Gossip is one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect with another human being. The secrecy, forbidden, and exclusive nature of confiding in someone something that’s a bit subversive or judgmental is social superglue. Through the veneer of momentary vulnerability and trust, the two are bonded. Unfortunately, gossip is a very sloppy second to real, meaningful connection.

4. People want to work with people they think of as peers.

Meaning, if someone isn’t carrying their own weight, isn’t competent or capable enough to do their job, or simply isn’t a good culture fit, then there will be gossip. Rather than being a “narc,” team members will talk both about said individual and leadership’s lack of awareness/action. And they will talk often. The longer said individual goes unaddressed, the louder and more embedded the gossip becomes.

Gossip feeds off separation and silence in the workplace.

With our highly regarded Speed Connecting Activity you can break down silos and start building real deal connection and camaraderie.

Check out our Culture Tip on 4 Ways to Reduce Gossip at Work.

Speed Connecting

Are you dealing with us vs them thinking, silos, or groups on your team who aren't getting along?
Perhaps you're up against this department vs that department, or this location vs that location, or old school vs new school, or leadership vs staff, or this shift vs that shift... No matter what division you're dealing with, it's draining—on you and on the team. Results are diminished, drama can be commonplace, and exasperation is close at hand.
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