If every school in North America (and my guess would be the other continents, as well) became gossip-free zones, I am positive that productivity and achievement would go up by at least 25% overall. In some environments, it might go up by 50% or even more. And, the theft of time caused by this lack of productivity and achievement would be essentially eliminated. So, how can you avoid gossip and help your campus be a gossip-free zone? Here are some ideas to consider:
1. Know what gossip is. A few definitions include: "Rumor or talk of personal, sensational, or intimate nature" (American Heritage Dictionary); "idle, often sensational and groundless talk about others (Houghton Mifflin Thesaurus). Hmmmm. Neither one of those around sound like this is something you want to be engaged in. And it certainly doesn't make anyone more productive.
2. Keep a count for 2 days of the number of times you engage in gossip, either because you instigated it or because someone else did and you listened. Then ask yourself if you are increasing your productivity (or anyone else's) through this behavior.
3. Once you have a number of times that you engage in gossip, then work to shave that number down for each two-day period in the future, until you are down to 0 times.
4. Make a pact with yourself to stop gossiping. When I was a teenager, one of my best friend's parents would say, "ZONK!" anytime either one of us would say anything that wasn't nice about someone else. As teenagers, this was just mortifying, because Mr. and Mrs. Riley felt free to do this when we were out in public, not just at my friend Donna's house! However, I can still hear her parents' voices whenever I say something negative about another person. (And let's just say it's been a few years since I was a teenager and leave it at that!)
5. Keep a count for 2 days of the number of times you overhear others gossiping. Ask yourself whether they are increasing their productivity by doing so.
6. Come up with a way to gracefully and respectfully tell others that regardless of your behavior in the past, you are making a new choice about gossiping. That is, you are choosing not to be part of it. This is a tough step, but is necessary to change the behaviors and culture within an organization. Be hold and assertive -- and professional. It is the professional (and productive) thing to do.
7. Remember that gossip can ruin business relationships, whether you're the one gossiping or you're the one being gossiped about. It's just nasty business.
8. Ask yourself if the people you know who are gossipers are well respected. Does gossiping add to or detract from your self respect and others' respect? You know the answer.
9. Remind yourself that gossip hurts (and never helps). Anytime anyone (including you) starts to pass along a salacious tidbit (or something more minor), ask who is helped or who is hurt by this talk. Adjust the conversation accordingly.
10. Calculate how much time you spend in gossiping behavior. If you are like other professionals in today's world, you're always looking for a few extra minutes int he day - and here they are! Just by getting rid of the gossip time thief, you can regain 5, 10, 30 minutes EVERY day. Multiply this by the number of people on your campus who are spending time gossiping. Think of the increase in overall productivity if you eliminated this time thief.
"There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us." - James Truslow Adams
Time thieves are part of modern life (sad but true ). You have the power to prevent this pilfering of your productivity. Join others around the world who increase their peaceful, predictable productivity by receiving Meggin's weekly emails.
(c) 2008 by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., "The Ph.D. of Productivity"(tm). Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh changes what people know, feel, dream, and do. Sound interesting? It is!